Hate-crime charge possible after passenger punches ride-share driver and accuses him of terrorism, police say

SEATTLE – A ride-share passenger is being investigated for a hate crime after he allegedly attacked the driver and accused him of working for a terrorist group Wednesday night, police said.

Police said the man picked up three passengers in southwest Seattle just before 9 p.m. and headed toward downtown. He told police that the man in the front seat began grabbing at him and accusing him of being a terrorist.

The driver convinced the man to move to the back seat. After he exited the freeway, he stopped at 1st and Seneca and told the group to get out of his car.

Police said all three got out, but the man reached in and punched the driver in the head before walking north on 1st.

The driver called police, who found the man and arrested him.

The driver was treated for minor facial injuries.

Police booked the 36-year-old suspect for assault, and he’s being investigated for malicious harassment – Washington’s hate crime statute.