Attack on Seattle Uber driver investigated as possible hate crime

Seattle Police Department (Photo by City of Seattle via Flickr.)
Seattle Police Department (Photo by City of Seattle via Flickr.)

An alleged attack on an ride-share driver last week is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to the Seattle Police Department blog.

Television station Q13 spoke with the driver, who is from Kenya. He picked up the sounds of the alleged attack on his dashboard camera. The driver picked up three men in southwest Seattle last Wednesday to take them downtown, according to the Seattle Police Department.

In the video that the man shared with the television station, one of the passengers insults the driver with expletives, and accuses the man of sympathizing with ISIS, which the driver says had not come up in the conversation before the passenger brought it up.

According to police, the driver let them out downtown, but the passenger punched the man in the head, causing minor injuries.

The 36-year-old passenger was quickly located by Seattle police officers and booked on suspicion of assault, and the case was handed over to bias crime detectives, according to the police department.

Several people have been convicted for hate crimes after assaults on Seattle for-hire drivers in the past few years. Earlier this year, a 27-year-old navy man pled guilty to felony assault and malicious mischief after he called a Somali cab driver a terrorist and knocked him unconscious. In 2013, a Federal Way man was sentenced after being convicted of beating a Sikh cab driver while making disparaging remarks about Muslims.