(ATLANTA, GA, 12/16/2019) -- The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) today welcomed a Georgia man's decision to plead guilty to assaulting and attacking a Muslim Uber driver outside the SunTrust Park baseball stadium after an Atlanta Braves game on April 2, 2019.
During a plea hearing at the Cobb County state court on Dec. 13th, the man entered two guilty pleas, paid a fine in lieu of further jail time, and directly apologized to the victim in open court in a lengthy statement, at which point the two men shook hands.
As part of his plea agreement, the defendant also agreed to perform 50 hours of community service, spend 12 months on probation without using alcohol or drugs and undergo CAIR-Georgia's educational religious sensitivity training on Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry, which was conducted at the courthouse after the hearing.
In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Staff Attorney Murtaza Khwaja said:
"We thank the Cobb County prosecutor's office for pursuing this case to the end. We applaud the victim for having the courage to defend himself during the attack, and to stand up for himself throughout the legal process.
"We also commend the defendant for doing the right thing. Many people wrong others because of ignorance and bigotry, but few people then admit their mistakes, seek forgiveness and make amends, which this defendant did.
"This crime serves as another reminder of why Georgia should recognize, document and penalize hate crimes. Without a hate crimes law, officers and prosecutors cannot officially document or appropriately punish these incidents for what they are: crimes of hate."
On April 2, 2019, a Muslim Uber driver was parked at SunTrust Park after an Atlanta Braves game. When a man who smelled of alcohol entered his car, the driver refused to serve him. Cursing, the man exited the vehicle.
According to a police report and cell phone video of the incident, the man's drunken friend then approached the Uber driver's car, threatened to "f*cking destroy you," opened his car door, spit on him, and punched him. The attacker also repeated an Islamophobic slur, saying, "How many virgins are you going to get for sucking c***?"
SEE: Bleeped Video of Incident (WARNING - GRAPHIC)
The Uber driver fought back in self-defense before the police arrived and arrested the man, charging him with simple battery and public drunkenness.
[NOTE: Out of respect for the victim's privacy, and the perpetrator's contrition, CAIR-Georgia is not publicly identifying the names of either man.]
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.