NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 26-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime after a profanity-laced, violent outburst in Midtown Manhattan.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, it happened Tuesday night at the Salt and Pepper restaurant on West 33rd Street.
Workers said Robert Murino appeared to be drunk and began to spew hate-filled words about Muslim people.
“You Muslim guys, you m****rf****rs,” Tahir Mahmood recalled hearing him say.
Mahmood was working behind the counter and said Murino harassed customers about their religious beliefs.
He then turned his aggression towards Mahmood and hit him in the head.
“‘What’s your religion? You’re a Muslim!’ He used very bad words,” Mahmood said.
Mahmood said he tried to stay calm, but once Murino hit him he had to defend himself.
“If I do not stop him, he going to attack me again,” Mahmood said.
In the surveillance video, you can see Mahmood and another employee force Murino out of the store. But he came back inside and picked up three chairs, throwing each one into the food counter, smashing the glass case.
Lina Parvin called police while she hid behind the counter.
“I feel so said, that I night I can’t sleep you know. I can’t sleep the whole night because I’m really afraid,” Parvin said.
Statistics released by the city showed that hate crimes against Muslims are down 43 percent this year from last year. However, those numbers were collected before both the shootings in San Bernardino and Donald Trump’s recent anti-Muslim tirade.
“We have Christians working here, we have Hindus from India, we have Muslims from Pakistan — and he just went after this color and assumed all of them are Muslims,” restaurant owner Mohammed Llyas said.
Murino was arrested shortly after the incident. He was charged with criminal mischief and assault as a hate crime.