A Tennessee man who allegedly spat at a Muslim woman, called her a terrorist and threatened to kill her will not be charged with a hate crime.
Instead, his case is being prosecuted as a misdemeanor.
The incident occurred in May in Rutherford County when 52-year-old Michael Robinson in his truck reportedly tried to run Sarah Alzu'bi off the road.
According to Alzu’bi, a man in his truck started spitting at her car. He swerved into her lane and when she parked her car near a tire shop, he got out of his car and began yelling profanities at her.
Robinson was later arrested, however, since Tennessee doesn’t have laws governing hate crimes, the case was turned over to the FBI and the Department of Justice.
Yet, it wasn’t tried as a hate crime; instead it’s being treated as an "aggravated assault" in the police report.
In a Facebook post, Alzu’bi condemned the misdemeanor charge.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations addressed the incident, expressing disappointment at the misdemeanor charge. They released the following statement:
“We are disappointed that an alleged hate attack on a Muslim woman has been treated as a misdemeanor and that the suspect in this troubling case was released on such low bail. Given the allegation of a bias motive, we ask that the charge in this case be upgraded to a felony and that any sentencing be enhanced to reflect the seriousness of the alleged crime.”
Meanwhile, Robinson was released on a $1,500 bond.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Susan Baaghil