An attorney for a 19-year-old Muslim woman who was punched from behind while visiting a Michigan hospital last month says the hospital staff should have done something to prevent the attack. Security footage appears to show suspect John Deliz, 57, striking the young woman, who was wearing a hijab.
The alleged assault took place at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn on Feb. 10.
"Certainly, after watching the video, and hearing my client's version of events, the circumstantial evidence would lead one to conclude that the attack was religiously motivated," attorney Majed Moughni told CBS News on Sunday. "There were five people in the lobby and my client was the only one who wore the hijab."
But Moughni said the suspect admitted in court that he had escaped from a group home and he had not been taking his medications. Deliz said he had been diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia, according to Moughni.
"The hospital was aware of his condition as he was brought because he needed mental treatment. Instead of treating him, they discharged him into the ER waiting room," Moughni explained. "Instead of giving him mental treatment, they put him back in the patient pool, thereby giving way to his attack."
The Detroit News reports the victim, who has not been identified, is seeking nearly $25,000 in damages from the hospital following the incident.
"She will never see life the same way she did before this incident," Moughni said of his client. "She is mentally and emotionally distressed. Afraid to go in public and always looking behind her back. She will never be the same again."
In a statement to Detroit News, the hospital said security personnel immediately responded to the incident and that they take security seriously.
Deliz remains in custody and his next court appearance is scheduled in May.