Victim In Apparent Racially Motivated Attack Worries It Might Happen Again
DENVER (CBS4) – Police in Denver hope that a photo captured of a suspect in what’s believed to be a bias-related crime will help them locate that man.
The crime happened over the weekend at the Oasis Exotic Hookah Lounge in LoDo at 15th and Market.
Badr Belfageoua, an employee at Oasis, says he was visiting the bar with friends at a time when he was not working. The night turned violent in the early morning hours on Sunday when he bumped into another person.
“I said excuse me and he just kept (saying) ‘Wanna cause a problem?'” Belfageoua told CBS4.
Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson described what happened in the following way: “The guys bumped into each other and words were exchanged. It became physical, and the victim was knocked out.”
Belfageoua lost consciousness for a moment and wound up with a concussion, a busted lip and a tooth that was knocked loose.
“You get knocked out for coming here. Welcome to America,” said Belfageoua, who is from Morocco.
Jackson said that in the midst of the confrontation “there were words exchanged that could make this a biased related crime.”
Although he doesn’t remember part of what happened Belfageoua says his friends were quick to tell him what the suspect said after the attack.
“(They said) he didn’t like you because you’re Moroccan. You’re from a different culture,” he said.
When the suspect left the bar someone managed to snap a picture of his face. Apparently the man stopped because a female friend was yelling at him.
“We’ve got a full picture of him. You’ve got him full-faced — so someone knows this individual, knows who he is. We want to talk to him,” Jackson said.
Belfageoua says he’s worried the suspect might attack someone else and is hoping someone comes forward to help Denver police in their investigation.
The image of the suspect shows a tattoo on his left arm.
If the suspect is caught it will be up to the district attorney to decide if hate crime charges would be filed.
Anyone with information is asked to call Denver police at (720) 913-2000. Remain anonymous and call Crime Stoppers at (720) 913-STOP (7867). Text to CRIMES (274637) then title DMCS and enter the message or send an e-mail to metro-denvercrimestoppers.com.