NEW YORK -- A man has been charged with a hate crime after a profanity-laced, violent outburst at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan Tuesday night, CBS New York reports.
The station reports that workers at Salt and Pepper restaurant, located about 10 blocks from Times Square, said 26-year-old Robert Murino appeared to be drunk when he began spewing hate-filled words about Muslims and lashing out , a scene at least partially captured on surveillance video.
After Murino allegedly hit a worker and was forced out of the restaurant, the video shows him coming back inside, picking up three chairs, throwing each one into the food counter and smashing the glass food case.
Tahir Mahmood was working behind the counter. He said that before Murino got violent he harassed customers about their religious beliefs and then hit him.
"You Muslim guys, you m****rf****rs," Mahmood claims Murino said before turning his aggression toward Mahmood and striking him in the head, saying "'What's your religion? You're a Muslim!' He used very bad words."
Mahmood said he tried to stay calm but defended himself at that point.
"If I do not stop him, he's going to attack me again," he said.
The station reported that a woman named Lina Parvin called police while she hid behind the counter.
"I feel so sad, that at night I can't sleep you know. I can't sleep the whole night because I'm really afraid," Parvin said.
Murino was arrested shortly after the incident. He was charged with criminal mischief and assault as a hate crime.
"We have Christians working here, we have Hindus from India, we have Muslims from Pakistan -- and he just went after this color and assumed all of them are Muslims," said restaurant owner Mohammed Llyas.
Statistics released by the city showed that hate crimes against Muslims were down 43 percent this year from last year. Those numbers were collected before both the shootings in San Bernardino and Donald Trump's recent anti-Muslim immigration comments.
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