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Cops: Man charged with bias crime in Captree assault

A Rockland County man who allegedly struck a Hispanic man in the face while shouting racial slurs at him was arrested Tuesday night after witnesses at Captree State Park called police, state police said Wednesday night.

Victor J. Scala, 48, of Stony Point, was charged with a bias crime, state police said. Scala, who police said is white, was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment.

Scala could not be reached late Wednesday night for comment. State police said he was wanted in Nassau on a bench warrant. He was arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead and released Wednesday after receiving a desk appearance ticket. The bench warrant was for walking a dog without a leash on private property.

The victim, whom authorities did not identify, suffered swelling and redness to his face and was treated at the scene, state police said.

According to state police, the agency received "a flood" of emergency calls at about 9:30 p.m. from callers who said a man, accompanied by his rottweiler, was harassing "numerous" people at the Captree Overlook fishing pier.

The callers said the man used "racial slurs" and was "targeting ethnic minorities," the state police said in a news release issued Wednesday night, about an hour after Newsday called to inquire about the incident.

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