Calls for accountability permeate in Queens’ Bangladeshi community. Credit: Zach Lucero

New York City’s Bangladeshi community is organizing after the shooting death of one of their own. 

NYPD killed Win Rozario in his Ozone Park, Queens, home on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. The 19-year-old was reportedly in mental distress when he called 911. The family disputes police claims that he came at officers with a pair of scissors. 

“I spoke to his relatives and it is unjustifiable,” said Abu Taher, editor of Bangla Patrika and CEO of Time Television, both based in Long Island City. “To shoot a boy six times? Shoot him in the leg if you must. He’s a teenager.”

The incident harkened previous fatal altercations between NYPD and their handling of people in mental health crises. In 2018, police shot and killed a Brooklyn man who they thought had a gun. Saheed Vassell was 34 years old, worked as a welder, had a teenage son and had bipolar disorder. The object he was carrying? A metal pipe.

Bangladeshis are one of the fastest-growing populations in New York City, and their political clout is on the rise. A 2022 Epicenter podcast featured lawyer and activist Ali Najmi specifically calling out Banglas and Indo-Caribbeans as two constituencies politicians could not afford to ignore. 

The teen’s shooting death comes during the holy month of Ramadan, celebrated by many Bangladeshis; Taher says the family are Bangladeshi Christians who arrived in 2014. His station’s reporters have been at the house all day today and produced this report. Bangladeshi influencers on Instagram have been posting about the death. “NYPD is not trained or properly equipped to handle mental health crises without resorting to violence,” noted one. 

They also are organizing community events. Two of note: 

Prop making session

Thursday, March 28, 2024

5:30 pm

39 Eldridge St, Manhattan


Friday, March 29, 2024

5 p.m.

Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza 

Last year, Epicenter NYC partnered with the Asian American Federation to spread the word about culturally relevant mental health services for communities across New York City. A roundup of coverage is here. The directory is here. One memorable piece featured a Bangladeshi-American therapist who works with young people, saying he feared for his patients and systems that did not understand them.

“There are more and more stressors placed on teenagers and adolescents between media, technology and everything else. South Asian parents don’t have a framework in their education on mental health. So it’s very alien,” said psychologist Dr. Abu Nasim.

“The Muslim American clients I work with, Islam is so ingrained in the cultures, in the language and the way we interact with their family and with their close friends and their mustard and other places. But then they go to school and it’s a very different environment. It’s a different language, different lingo. Navigating that space is complicated for a lot of my clients, hence why they’re seeking therapy.”

Indeed, Taher noted why this tragedy is hitting so close to home for so many. “The family came from Bangladesh with a dream,” says Taher, “and the dream ended up this way.”

S. Mitra Kalita is a veteran journalist, media executive, prolific commentator and author of two books. In 2020 she launched Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter to help New Yorkers get through the pandemic. Mitra...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.