An alleged racial-hate attack on a priest who had just arrived from Nigeria has shocked parishioners at a Brooklyn Roman Catholic church.
“Go back to the projects!” police say Joseph Mattarelliano shouted at
the Rev. Uriroghene Okrokoto of the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church
in Marine Park.
“Or your neighborhood in Flatbush where you came from,” railed a bat-wielding Mattarelliano, 25, according to police sources.
“Otherwise I’m gonna split your head,” he allegedly said.
“What are you doing in my neighborhood? Did you make money?” Mattarelliano, who is white, asked the priest, sources said.
“Leave this f—ing neighborhood, you f—ing n—er.”
Sources said Okrokoto answered, “If you have a problem with me, you should call the police.”
Mattarelliano sped off in his SUV — but Okrokoto got the license-plate number.
Okrokoto was not wearing clerical garb when the man approached him on Jan. 13 at 3:45 a.m. at Avenue T and Ford Street.
Mattarelliano surrendered Friday at the 61st Precinct station house.
He was charged with weapon possession and menacing as a hate crime.
Janet Subrizi, a lifelong member of the church who works in its
office, said Okrokoto was ordained in June and goes by “Father
Subrizi said she and another parishioner drove him around the
neighborhood when he was first assigned to Good Shepherd, showing him
where to catch the subway and local buses.
“Knowing him, I think he would pray for the person and not hold any
kind of fear or any kind of hurt in his heart against that man,” Subrizi
A spokesman said the Brooklyn Diocese was happy to hear there’s been an arrest.