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On Oct. 3, 19-year-old Ruddad Abdulgader approached two men at the C&O Canal, shouted homophobic epithets at them, and assaulted one of them in the face with a bottle. He pleaded guilty to “felony assault with bias intent” and “possession of a prohibited weapon” yesterday, reports Lou Chibbaro Jr. for the Washington Blade. Adbulgader and another man were arrested following the incident last month.
Chibbaro writes that Abdulgader “faces a maximum sentence of five and a half years in prison” for the assault and weapon charges—-the weapon in question was a “glass vodka bottle.” Usually, an assault of this kind has a maximum penalty of three years in prison. But Abdulgader admitted that the crime was committed “based on his prejudice against the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation”—-meaning the sentencing can be heightened under D.C.’s hate crime legislation. In the District of Columbia, hate crimes can result in penalties one-and-a-half times stronger than non-bias related crimes.
More details from Chibbaro:
In appearing before Judge Harold Cushionberry, Abdulgader acknowledged a statement by prosecutors that he used a glass vodka bottle to strike a 23-year-old man in the face while making anti-gay remarks, knocking him unconscious in an unprovoked attack Oct. 3.
Police said the incident occurred about 3 a.m. along the C&O Canal in Georgetown after Abdulgader and co-defendant Saad Elarch, 22, approached the gay man and the man’s friend.
According to a statement released by the United States Attorney’s office, Abdulgader admitted in court that he and Elarch asked the gay man and his friend about their sexual orientation and “subjected them to homophobic remarks.”
“After the victim and his friend tried to leave, Abdulgader moved ahead of them and pretended to apologize,” says a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office. “In the middle of making an apology, with no warning or provocation, Abdulgader hit the victim in the left side of his face with a glass vodka bottle.