BETHEL PARK, Pa. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have added a hate crime charge against a Pennsylvania man already awaiting trial on charges used anti-Muslim slurs and physically attacked another man while drunk at a restaurant in November.
The victim was Indian, not Muslim. The suspect, 54-year-old Jeffrey Burgess, told WTAE-TV before Thursday's arraignment that "It was the alcohol" and said, "It happened and I'm remorseful about it."
Authorities say Burgess was sitting next to the man inside a Red Robin restaurant when he began insulting the victim then elbowed him repeatedly in the head.
The Bethel Park man is charged in state court with ethnic intimidation, simple assault, harassment and public drunkenness.
The federal charge makes it illegal to target someone with violence based on their ethnicity or perceived ethnicity and carries up to 10 years in prison.