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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

August 30, 2010 at 4:21 PM

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Man charged with hate crime for punching man in turban

Posted by Jennifer Sullivan

A Seattle man has been charged with malicious harassment after police say he punched a man in a turban and accused him of being a member of al-Qaida.

Brock Stainbrook, 35, was charged late last week with malicious harassment -- the state's hate crime statute -- and fourth-degree assault. Stainbrook is being held at the King County Jail on $150,000 bail.

According to court charging documents, a fight broke out inside the 7-Eleven store at 362 Denny Way just after 12:30 a.m. Aug. 24 when Stainbrook threw change at a stranger and punched him in the head.

Stainbrook was heard telling the man "you're not even an American, you're al-Qaida. Go back to your country," charging paperwork said.

A store employee intervened and told Stainbrook to leave. Police were called and witnesses told them to look for a man wearing a white T-shirt, black pants and carrying one shoe, charging documents said. When police found Stainbrook near the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Vine Street, he told them that he "struck a person on his turban," charging papers said.

King County Deputy Prosecutor Samantha Kanner said that Stainbrook has prior convictions in Washington for fourth-degree assault and criminal trespassing. He was convicted in Hawaii in 2002 and 2004 for making terrorist threats,

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