A 26-year-old man was arrested for a suspected hate crime early Sunday after he beat a taxi driver unconscious and told him to “go back to your own country,” Seattle police said.
During the attack, the cabbie lost control of the taxi, which struck several parked cars and an apartment building in the Magnolia neighborhood, according to police. He was not seriously injured, police said.
The cabbie picked up three men and a woman in Belltown just before 2 a.m. Sunday and drove them to the 4200 block of 27th Avenue West, police said. One of the passengers gave the cabbie his credit card and the man apparently became angry at how long the transaction took, police said.
The man reportedly called the 34-year-old cabbie a “terrorist,” and said “you should go back to your own country,” and threatened to shoot him, police said. The man then leaned across the seat and repeatedly punched the cabbie in the face
Police said the cabbie lost consciousness and his foot slipped off the brake, causing the taxi to roll downhill, strike several cars and hit the stairs of an apartment building. The cabbie regained consciousness, and the attack continued, this time with the two other male passengers joining in, police said.
The three men fled when neighbors came out to investigate.
The main assailant returned to the scene while police were there and admitted to being involved, but claimed he had acted in self-defense, according to police. He was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute.
The cabbie was treated at the scene.