A passenger reportedly accused the driver of being a terrorist and punched him in the head, according to police.
Seattle police arrested a 36-year-old man Wednesday suspected of punching a ride-share driver in the head after accusing him of belonging to a terrorist group.
The driver was heading downtown with three men when one of them, who was in the front seat, started grabbing him and claiming he was a terrorist, police said. The men requested the ride from southwest Seattle shortly before 9 p.m., police said.
After the driver asked the men to get out, the “problem passenger” reportedly punched the driver in the head and then walked away with the other men, says a news release from police.
The driver called authorities, and officers quickly found the suspect and arrested him, the release says. Medics at the scene treated the driver for minor facial injuries.
The police department’s bias-crimes detectives are reviewing the case as a possible case of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute. Officers booked the man into King County Jail on suspicion of assault.
According to state law, malicious harassment is an attack motivated by a perception of someone’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or disability, and results in physical injury, property damage or threats that would place a reasonable person in fear of harm.