A Burbank man was arrested Monday on federal charges he violated the civil rights of a Muslim family when he allegedly tossed a fireworks explosive into their unoccupied van. Eric K. Nix, 26, has been convicted in Cook County of misdemeanor charges stemming from the same 2003 incident. Shortly after his arrest at 8:30 a.m. Monday, he pleaded not guilty to the federal charges before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ian Levin. Nix was performing community service as part of his sentence for the misdemeanor conviction when U.S. deputy marshals arrested him. His punishment in September 2003 in Cook County Circuit Court, 200 hours community service and two years’ probation, was criticized as a “a slap on the wrist” by Muslim civil rights groups and the victim, Abbas Salmi. “We are definitely pleased with the fact that justice is taking its due course,” said Fadi Farhan, director of governmental relations for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The punishment in any case should fit the crime, and this charge fits the act more than the previous [charges].” (MORE)


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