Minnesota man accused of bias assault on Somali cab driver

AP News
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Posted: Apr 06, 2017 8:48 PM

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota man is accused of attacking a Somali cab driver because the driver was Muslim.

Twenty-three-year-old Zachary Degraw (dee-GRAW') of Willmar is charged with bias-motivated assault, a gross misdemeanor, plus two counts of misdemeanor assault.

Court records say the cab driver picked up Degraw and a woman in St. Cloud last month and was driving them to Rollie's Rednecks & Longnecks bar when Degraw put his arm around the driver's neck and started to choke him.

The cabbie said he could not breathe or call for help. The complaint says the driver swerved on the highway and slammed on the brakes, and Degraw released his hold.

Defense attorney Robert Stoneburner says Degraw is not racist and plans to plead not guilty. Degraw is due back in court May 4.