Police Seeking Public’s Help in Identifying Suspect in Hate Crime Attack

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Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (right) and Police Chief Jim Mcdonnell (left) address the press at a conference Wednesday concerning a hate crime that occurred on July 2. Photo by Brittany Woolsey.

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who committed a hate crime against a Muslim woman in Long Beach earlier this month.

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said at a press conference Wednesday that on July 2 at about 4:30PM a woman wearing a Hijab was grabbed from behind by a white man on the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue in a shopping center.

McDonnell said the man forcefully grabbed the woman’s Hijab and took it off her head, causing her to sustain injuries to her neck. “The suspect grabbed the cover, indicating that it was a Hijab, and said he had knowledge of the Muslim culture,” he said.

The woman was unloading groceries into the trunk of her car when she was attacked, McDonnell said.

After the attack, the suspect, described as white man in his 30s around 5’9″ with a brown hair, a thin build and broad shoulders, fled from the scene on foot with the Hijab in his hand.

“The crime [brought] fear in the victim, and we are investigating this as a hate crime,” McDonnell said, adding that he believed it was an isolated incident since there have been no other similar crimes reported. “Crimes of this nature will not be tolerated in this city.”

The woman, who wished to not be identified, was checked into a local hospital after the attack and released, McDonnell said.

Members of the Muslim and equality communities also spoke at the press conference in support of the woman. Salam Al-Marayati, President of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, expressed concern over the racism of the act. “When they attack one of us, they attack all of us,” he said. “It is our duty as Americans to protect all women who are subjected to this kind of violence.”

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A police sketch of the suspect.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crime or has been a victim to a similar crime to come forward by contacting the LBPD Violent Crimes Detail at 562-570-7250. Anonymous tips may also be submitted by calling 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus the tip to CRIMES (274637) or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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