Mohamed A. Salim, 39, served this country in Iraq in intelligence and as a linguist. He served at the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Yet, he allegedly still suffered a beating and a broken jaw in his own country because of his Somali ethnicity and religion. Salim is a cab driver who picked up Emerald Aviation President Ed Dahlberg at the Country Club in Fairfax, Virginia. Dahlberg proceeded to accuse him of being a jihadist and allegedly attacked him. Emerald Aviation’s website is down for “scheduled maintenance” in the aftermath of Dahlberg’s arrest.
According to Salim, he picked up Dahlberg around 2 am but Dahlberg insisted that he wait while he finished his beer. Salim recorded what transpired on his cell phone. Dahlberg demanded that Salim define “jihad” and accusing him of being one of the “radical fucking Muslims blowing people up all over the world.” He demands that Salim “Denounce those motherfuckers now!” while adding “If you’re a fucking Muslim flying jets into the fucking World Trade Center then fuck you. I will slice your fucking throat right now.” On the tape, Salim is heard asking “Why are you punching me? Sir, why are you punching me?” The passenger replies: “You’re a [expletive] Muslim.”
Dahlberg is accused of trying to grab the cell phone and then leaving — only to return to break Salim’s jaw and then running into the forest.
What is astonishing is that Dahlberg is only charged with misdemeanor assault while police determine if charges should be elevated to a felony hate crime. Many civil libertarians are leery of hate crime charges. However, I fail to see why such a serious assault would need the hate crime element to be elevated to a felony. However, here is the provision:
18.2-57. Assault and battery.
A. Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his race,religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.
B. However, if a person intentionally selects the person against whom an assault and battery resulting in bodily injury is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the person shall be guilty of a Class 6 felony, and the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.
Dahlberg’s attorney, Demetry Pikrallidas, insists that there was no assault. Of course, even if this is accepted in court, there remains the appearance of this corporate president as an unhinged bigot. Then there is the added likelihood of a tort lawsuit for assault, battery, and infliction of emotional distress. There might also be potential liability for the country club depending on its reaction to the incident as it was unfolding.
Source: Washington Post