In yet another example of how difficult it is to be a Black person in America just trying to sit in your car and wait for your mother, a Chicago-based professor has been charged with a felony hate crime after an alleged assault on a Black woman in front of her 7-year-old daughter.
Alberto Friedmann, 53, was arrested on Sept. 7 after allegedly spitting on and hurling racial slurs at the mother-daughter duo while they waited for the woman’s mother outside a suburban Chicago Jewel-Osco grocery store, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The incident began when Friedmann, a neuro kinesiology professor at the National University of Health Sciences, started “honking and yelling” at the woman as he sat in his Jaguar behind her car. The woman reportedly told police she heard Friedmann use a racial slur as he shouted at her to “Move your f***ing car.”
The woman signaled for Friedmann to drive around her, but he instead got out of his car to confront her. She attempted to get out of hers as well, but he pushed the door closed and then spat in her face, court records said. He allegedly told the woman he spit “because he does not like Black people,” Assistant State’s Attorney Lindsay Ruedig said. The woman’s mother witnessed the incident and the store’s surveillance cameras captured footage, although it was not made clear in court what exactly was seen or heard in the video.
When the woman finally did exit her car to get his license plate number, he accelerated his car, “nearly striking her” and then hitting her rear driver’s side bumper. Police were called and Friedmann admitted to spitting at the woman at the time of his arrest. But in court, his attorney, John McNamara, denied all allegations of racial statements during the attack, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“My client vehemently denies using any racial language. It’s our position that it’s fabricated that he used any such language. He’s a minority himself. He’s a child of immigrants,” McNamara told the judge. “This is completely outside of his nature.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Friedmann has a doctorate in kinesiology and exercise science and neurology from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise science from Southern Illinois University. According to the Chicago Tribune, Friedmann suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a person’s limbs to be overly flexible, as well as early-onset Parkinson’s disease. He’s also a full-time caregiver to his ailing wife.
In a statement to NBC Chicago, the National University of Health Sciences confirmed that Friedmann has been suspended from his position while his case is under investigation. “We take allegations of misconduct seriously, and therefore have suspended Alberto Friedmann pending the results of a university investigation,” the school said.
Despite the trauma he inevitably inflicted on the woman (and her daughter), the judge ordered Friedmann released on $2,500 bail and barred him from contacting the woman or any witnesses.
This case is just one more in a long and burgeoning list of racially based hate crimes across the nation.
The FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) report says there were 7,314 hate crimes in 2019, up from 7,120 the year before—and the highest number since 7,783 were recorded in 2008.
“The latest rise in hate crime signals a new brutal landscape, where targeted attacks against rotating victim groups not only result in spikes but increases are also being driven by a more widely dispersed rise in the most violent offenses,” Brian Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University told VOA News.
It’s always disturbing, although not surprising to Black Americans, to read about incidents such as these, particularly in cities as seemingly progressive as Chicago. But as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., famously told reporters during protests in the city in 1966: “I have never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, mobs as hateful as I’ve seen here in Chicago.”
Friedmann is due back in court Wednesday.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.