CAIR-MN: CHARGES FILED AFTER MAN ATTACKED WHILE LEAVING ST. CLOUD MOSQUE
A man was charged with assault Monday after allegedly attacking another man as he was leaving a prayer mosque in St. Cloud the day before.
Phillip Joseph Massa, 33, of Isanti, was charged in Stearns County District Court with obstructing the legal process and fourth-degree gross misdemeanor assault motivated by bias. Massa allegedly approached a 26-year-old St. Cloud man Sunday, accused him of being a Muslim terrorist and threw a punch that missed.
Police said Massa then shoved the man and elbowed him in the head, dislodging his glasses. The victim called 911, and Massa was caught about six blocks away. Massa also fought with officers at the Stearns County Jail in central Minnesota, police said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on authorities to charge Massa with a federal civil rights violation. Omar Merhi, executive director for the group's Minnesota chapter, said the alleged incident was part of a growing pattern around the country.
Assistant Stearns County Attorney Shan Wang said he hadn't heard whether federal charges would be filed.