CAIR-FL: ALLEGED HATE CRIME
The nation's largest Muslim civil rights group is asking the State Attorney's Office to throw the book a Bay County man.
According to the Bay County Sheriff's Office, Thomas Plaisted, 60, of Cedar Grove, is charged with battery with prejudice.
The incident report shows it happened on May 22 at the Taco Bell in Lynn Haven. Asma Sidani told officer that Plaisted hit her 5 year-old son and spit on him.
Investigators say the man was asked to leave the restaurant by management.
"This man not only called the children names like Muslim b****** and cursed at them using the f-word and other profanity, but he also shoved the 11 year-old son, and he also attacked the 5 year-old son by spitting on him," says Ahmed Bedier from the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
"Mrs. Sidani was in shock that this was happening to her, and when she asked him why are you doing this, he told her because you are quote "F-ing Muslims," he says.
Asma Sidani, her husband, and several supporters gathered at the Bay County Courthouse for Plaisted's arraignment. CAIR held a news conference outside before the hearing.
"What happened that day is horrible, and I will never forgive Thomas Plaisted, but I'm here to make sure the law will take care of him," says Sidani.
Battery with prejudice is a felony.
CAIR says the incident was further complicated, because Lynn Haven police initially refused to file charges.
"We want to make sure that the right message is sent to the public, that hate crimes of this nature, especially ones directed at kids that didn't do anything wrong, just because of their religion, or their ethnicity or their color, is unacceptable," says Bedier.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office investigated and arrested Plaisted.
He pleaded not guilty to two counts of battery with prejudice and waived the right to a speedy trial.