FBI opens hate crime investigation over attack on Muslim woman

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 22 October 2015 16:44

The FBI has opened a hate crime investigation into an attack on a Muslim woman in which police say a 19-year-old Indiana University college student shouted racial slurs and tried to remove her headscarf.

The Associated Press said on Thursday that FBI Special Agent Wendy Osborne had said there was no deadline for concluding the investigation into Saturday's incident in Bloomington, Indiana. She said the FBI became aware of the incident Monday and started the investigation Tuesday.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and ensure the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” she said. "We will conduct the investigation as expeditiously as possible."

The 19-year-old faces a series of charges

Triceton Bickford of Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been charged with a series of offences, including intimidation, strangulation and battery, following the alleged assault on the 47-year-old woman in a Turkish cafe in Bloomington.

According to legal documents, the Muslim woman was sitting at a table with her nine-year-old daughter when a man later identified as Mr Bickford emerged from a nearby alley shouting "white power," anti-black racial slurs and "kill the police.”

Mr Bickford allegedly grabbed the woman by the neck and forced her head forward, restricting her breathing as he tried to remove her headscarf, police say.

Indiana University expelled the young man following reports of the attack. He was released Sunday from Monroe County's jail on $705 bond and other fees and is scheduled to appear in Monroe County court Friday.

Mr Bickford has said he has no memory of the incident and that a combination of drinking alcohol and not taking his anti-anxiety medication caused him to snap. He did not respond the AP’s request for comment.

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