Glen Cover Louis Fugazy, 72, was arrested on Aug. 10 and charged with assaulting Ali Awan, 19, also of Glen Cove, because, apparently, the teen was playing his music too loudly in a public space.
A video shows Fugazy approach Awan, saying “you’re here to annoy us, right?” Fugazy then grabs Awan by the neck, and the two struggle.
Glen Cove Police say the incident happened at 12:57 p.m. on the beach at the East Island section of Glen Cove. Both men frequent East Island Beach, commonly known as Morgan’s Beach by locals.
Fugazy was charged with third-degree assault and will be arraigned in Glen Cove City Court on Aug. 18.
Awan videotaped the alleged assault and his brother Khizer, 22, posted it on Facebook, where at press time it had 32,100 views.
Amanda Fugazy, an employment attorney and Louis Fugazy's daughter, said the incident was culmination of many months of harassment that the neighborhood has endured from the Awan brothers.
"They stalk people with drones, take video of minor children and blare profanity-laden music," she said, exasperated. "We believe the reason why they engage in this behavior is to goad the neighbors to engage in some sort of misstep so they can start a lawsuit."
The Awan family immigrated from Pakistan and moved to Glen Cove 15 years ago to a house on Sound Beach Drive, across the street from the beach. Ali's father is an attorney, and his mother, a doctor. The couple have three sons and a daughter.
Khizer said neighbors have often harassed his family. "It’s not anything new," he said. "Initially, as children, we had the police called on us for simply going to the beach, riding our bicycles in the neighborhood, for not wearing a helmet, something along those lines. The only difference is that we don’t tolerate it like we did.”
According to Glen Cove Police Detective Lt. John Nagle, four different East Island residents filed complaints against the Awan brothers previous to the alleged assault.
"Since the arrest, people are coming out of the woodwork saying that things happened in the past," Nagle said. "There are a lot of things happening with this and a lot of moving parts. It's not cut and dry where a gentleman was attacked on the beach."
Police had met with members of the East Island Association on June 11. Four or five parents came, said the association's president, attorney Michael Cervini. "They said their children were being videotaped and photographed by the Awan brothers, and they wanted the police to stop them," Cervini said. "The police promised us they would monitor the situation and that we should continue to file complaints. But it goes nowhere."
Nagle said the GCPD is aware of the situation and is trying to remain neutral. "When we met with the association, we told them that we need documentation," he said. "I told them if they are being videotaped to take out their phone and videotape the person videotaping them. People need to call the police, report what is happening and come here to fill out a report."
The Awan family was invited to join the association years ago, Cervini said, but they declined.
Residents were upset, Cervini said, when they received a June 30 cease and desist letter from the Esagoff Law Group P.C., which is representing the Awan family. The firm, the letter stated, was investigating a series of “unwarranted incidents of nuisance, harassment and bias perpetuated” against its clients. The neighbors were being asked to "discuss a reasonable settlement to compensate” the Awan family for damages, including attorney fees and costs.
The cease and desist letter, Khizer said, asks those who received it to leave his family alone and to reach a reasonable settlement for damages such as attorney costs. “That was for no monetary gain, none of that,” he said. “We have no open lawsuits against any of our neighbors. My mother’s a physician, my father is an attorney. They’re hard-working professionals. Money is not an issue for our family.”
Louis Fugazy's other daughter, Danielle Fugazy Scagliola, a Glen Cove City councilwoman, said Ali and his brothers, Khizer and Shayan, have been harassing her father and other family members for a while.
"Trying to provoke people, creating controversy . . . is their standard operating procedure," Fugazy Scagliola said. "Unfortunately, my 72-year-old father succumbed to their provocation. That said, I do not condone violence.”
Cervini sent a letter to the Awan family on July 23 informing them that they were trespassing on private land at East Island Beach owned by the association. He said he had hoped the young men would stop sitting on the benches there, refrain from playing “loud, offensive music” and cease from videotaping the children. But that did not happen.
“They provoked a senior citizen, a 72-year-old-man with Parkinson’s,” Amanda Fugazy said. “Dad feels frustrated that he was harassed into this position and is now being taken advantage of for monetary gains. He has been a peaceful and productive leader in this community for 35 years. For him to be subject to this sort of antagonizing at this stage in his life is beyond the pale.”