Long Beach's police chief says a hate crime happened when a man cursed at and pulled the head covering–known as a hijab–off a Muslim woman in a shopping center.
The Anaheim-based greater Los Angeles area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) is working with police to find the mystery man, calling on the public to out him.
The incident happened around 4:30 p.m. July 2 in a shopping center parking lot in the 4000 block of Atlantic Avenue, according to Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. As the 32-year-old woman loaded her car, the hater came up from behind and twisted and pulled off her black hijab, which he referred to by name while cussing her out. That indicates he's familiar with Muslim culture in McDonnell's eyes.
The woman was able to provide a description that served as the basis for the composite sketch released by police. The hater was further described as in his 30s, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 tall, with a thin build, short brown hair, brown eyes, and a trimmed brown mustache and beard. He was last seen wearing a white buttoned-up shirt and black pants. His shoes may also have been black.
"This incident occurred during the day in a busy shopping center and we are hoping that someone may have witnessed the encounter or saw the suspect leaving the area, and can provide us with additional information," says McDonnell in a City News Service report. "Crimes of this nature will not be tolerated in our city and we will continue our efforts to find the suspect and hold him accountable."
Anyone with information was asked to call the Long Beach Police Department's Violent Crimes Detail at (562) 570-7250. A CAIR-LA statement points to the same number and adds that anonymous tips can be left with LA Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477, by texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.
The woman's family had reported the incident to CAIR-LA's Civil Rights Department, the organization noted.