Woman arraigned in assault on Melrose city councilor’s husband

Joan Ditomaso is accused of pushing City Councilor-at-Large Maya Jamaleddine’s husband after allegedly making anti-Muslim remarks.

A Melrose woman accused of assaulting a local city councilor’s husband in December was arraigned Friday and likely won’t face hate-crime charges despite her alleged use of anti-Muslim language during the confrontation, according to officials.

Authorities say Joan Ditomaso was arraigned on assault and battery charges Friday morning, six months after she allegedly shouted Islamophobic comments at Melrose City Councilor-at-Large Maya Jamaleddine, the city’s first Muslim elected to public office.

Jamaleddine said Ditomaso verbally accosted her before shoving her husband at a gas station on Dec. 3, when the couple’s children were present. Jamaleddine’s husband captured part of the heated exchange on camera, and the video has since been shared on social media.

According to the couple, Jamaleddine was sitting in the family car with their children when Ditomaso allegedly rolled down the window of her vehicle and told Jamaleddine, who wears a hijab, to “go back to your own [expletive] country.” Jamaleddine’s husband overheard the remark and confronted Ditomaso while filming her license plate, according to officials.


Video shows Ditomaso approaching Jamaleddine’s husband before allegedly shoving him. Another woman is heard shouting, “Freedom of speech!” before Ditomaso twice yells an expletive, “mother f—er,” at the man.

The Massachusetts chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MA) called for a hate crime investigation, calling it an incident of racist harassment and assault.

NBC Boston reported that Jamaleddine’s lawyer and CAIR-MA Legal Director, Barbara J. Dougan, said of the charges, “We are disappointed that a clerk magistrate decided not to charge the defendant with a civil rights violation. But we respect the clerk’s decision, and we will be focusing our attention on the assault and battery case.”

Days after the Dec. 3 incident, the Melrose Human Rights Commission and Mayor’s Office released a statement, saying, “Simply put, these racist, Islamophobic attacks have no place in our city or anywhere. We must call out these acts and stand with our residents who are the subject of these attacks.”

On her campaign page, Jamaleddine describes herself as “a mom, wife, and advocate, and a proud Lebanese-American.”


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