Police: Suspect in possible hate crime called cab driver a 'terrorist,' beat him unconscious

SEATTLE — A hate crime investigation is underway after a cab driver was beaten so severely he lost consciousness while behind the wheel, resulting in his cab rolling down a street and hitting multiple cars.

Seattle police said it all began when that driver picked up three men and a woman from Belltown just before 2:00 a.m. Sunday and drove them to an apartment building in Magnolia.

The driver said one of the passengers, a 26-year-old man, gave him a credit card to pay for the trip but became angry when it took longer than he thought it should.

The passenger allegedly threatened to shoot the man while calling him a ‘terrorist.’

“You should go back to your own country,” the man reportedly said. The man then leaned across the seat and punched the driver in the face, police said.

Police said the beating continued until the 34-year-old driver passed out at the wheel, his foot slipped off the brake and the cab rolled down hill hitting several parked cars near the 4200 block of 27th Avenue W.

The cab eventually stopped when it hit the stairs of an apartment building. Neighbors came outside and the passenger ran from the scene.

The cab driver came to and was able to tell police what had happened.  He was treated by medics for his injuries.

The passenger came back to the cab after some time and talked to police. He called himself a Navy Veteran and said he asked the driver if he hated America and was involved in the terrorist organization ISIS after the credit card transaction took a long time.

He then told police the two began fighting, and he punched the cab driver in self defense.

The man was arrested and booked into King County Jail on investigation of malicious mischief and malicious harassment.

He is being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.