A judge set bail at $50,000 on Monday for a 26-year-old sailor accused of a hate crime after police say he beat an immigrant taxi driver unconscious and told him to “go back to your own country,” according to a court document.
In a document of probable cause, which lays out the case, Seattle police say the cab driver picked up three men and a woman in Belltown at 2 a.m. Sunday and drove them to the 4200 block of 27th Avenue West.
The 34-year-old cab driver, identified as Adam Gaal in an interview with KING-TV, said one of the male passengers became irritated over how long it took to process his credit card to pay the fare. According to the probable-cause document, the man called Gaal a “terrorist,” threatened to shoot him and then leaned across the seat and repeatedly punched him in the face.
“He did not close the door. He just jam on me and punched me repeatedly, so I became unconscious,” Gaal told KING-TV. “I don’t deserve to get that so, emotionally, it’s not a good thing.”
Gaal told police he lost consciousness and his foot slipped off the brake, causing the taxi to roll downhill, strike several parked cars and hit the stairs of an apartment building. The attack continued, with two of the other male passengers joining in, according to the document.
The passengers fled when neighbors came out to investigate. The main assailant returned to the scene while police were there, according to the court document. The man, who said he was on active duty in the Navy, admitted to being involved, but claimed he had acted in self-defense, police said.
He was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of malicious harassment, the state’s hate-crime statute. The Times is not naming the man because he has not been charged.
The deadline for filing charges is Wednesday, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Gaal said he suffered a broken nose in the attack. The father of four told KING-TV he moved to Seattle 15 years ago after spending most of his life in Somalia.