SEATTLE — A cab driver said he was knocked unconscious and called “a terrorist” by a 26-year-old who was arrested early Sunday, suspected of committing a hate crime.
Taxi driver Adam Gaal said he picked up a group at 1st Avenue and Blanchard Street in Belltown and drove them to an apartment complex on 27th Avenue in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood when one customer got frustrated because he thought that Gaal’s credit card machine was taking too long.
“I said, ‘You have to wait, the process is not automatic,” Gaal said. “It takes a few minutes.”
Gaal said while the credit card was processing the customer began verbally assaulting him.
“He said, ‘You know where you are, This is America. This is not where you come from. You are immigrant. This is not your country. You are terrorist,'” Gaal said
Gaal said once he got done processing the credit card, he handed it back to the man and expected the customer to walk away.
“He did not close the door. He just jam on me and punched me repeatedly, so I became unconscious,” Gaal said. “I don’t deserve to get that so, emotionally, it’s not a good thing.”
Gaal was bloodied and suffered a broken nose following the beating. The father of four moved to Seattle 15 years ago after spending the majority of his life in Somalia.
“I didn’t harm anybody, I didn’t cause any problem and, all of a sudden, somebody attacked me,” Gaal said. “I didn’t get out of my house for somebody to broke my nose. I was making a living for my family.”
After the attack, the customer who punched him fled along with his friends. Once police arrived, they were able to track down the 26-year-old suspect and they arrested him shortly after. The suspect claimed he was acting in self-defense. He was booked into jail for malicious harassment, which is the state statute for a hate crime.
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