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Civil rights group calls for hate crime charges in attack fueled by 'vibe'

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A national Muslim civil rights advocacy group called for Utah to bring hate crime charges against a Utah man who was arrested for assault. (File photo: KUTV)

A national Muslim civil rights advocacy group called for Utah to bring hate crime charges against a Utah man who was arrested for assault. Police said the attack happened because the suspect had a "vibe" the Middle Eastern victim was going to commit an act of terrorism.

On Wednesday, police were called to grocery store where Scott Alexander was already being detained by responding officers. When questioned by police he said he attacked the man because because he believed he was a terroist. Multiple witnesses said they saw Alexander on top of the man, physically attacking him.

“Based on the reported statements made following this attack, local and state law enforcement authorities must consider bringing hate crime charges against the alleged assailant,” Ibrahim Hooper of The Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a press release on Thursday.

Probable cause documents said assault with hate crime charges were warranted because "there was no reasonable suspicion behind believing the victim was a terrorist." Documents said Alexander told police the man was a terrorist which is why he attacked and "detained" him.

Police searched a bag Alexander said belonged to him and discovered meth. When police questioned him about recent drug use he told them, "I won't deny it."

Alexander was taken to jail, arrested for two counts of assault, possession or use of a controlled substance and unlawful detention.

He said CAIR has reported an increase in hate rhetoric and bias-motivated incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority communities since President Trump was elected and since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday CAIR called for disciplinary action for those who made anti-Asian vandalism at the University of Wisconsin and attacks targeting Wisconsin's Hmong Asian-American community.