A civil jury on Monday awarded $350,000 to a Muslim cab driver who was attacked over his religion by a Fairfax County businessman in 2013.
Mohamed A Salim had alleged that Ed Dahlberg had punched him and fractured his jaw after ranting about his Islamic faith. However, the jury held that a “preponderance of the evidence” in the case showed that Ed Dahlberg assaulted, but did not batter, the cabdriver. He was awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 more in punitive damages.
The incident, which was partially captured on video, had occurred two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombing and had drawn widespread attention in the US.
The video, which Salim captured on a phone, showed that Dahlberg declared, “If you’re a Muslim, you’re a [expletive] jihadist”.
Salim, a Muslim and Army Reserve veteran, asked, “So I’m a terrorist?” To which Dahlberg responded, “Most of you are.”
Further, the footage showed Dahlberg seeming to slap at Salim after the victim said that he planned to call 911. Salim could also be heard saying, “Why you punching me?” after Dahlberg appeared to get out of the cab. Jury held that no assault was obvious at that point, though Dahlberg’s voice could be heard.
Dalhberg had initially been charged with misdemeanor assault but the charges were dropped because prosecutors had concluded that he was innocent. Salim then filed a lawsuit earlier this year, and the civil trial began last week.
After the verdict was announced, Salim’s attorney, Victor M Glasberg, said the victim, who came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia, was “enormously gratified” by the result.
“The decision to drop the charges was the product of professional irresponsibility and abdication of a public trust amounting particularly to a slap in the face of the Muslim community,” Glasberg said.
“One of the terrific things about this verdict is this jury saw fit to recognise the damage done to Mohamed Salim — not physical damage, [but] damage to his security as an American, to his connectedness to this country he loves,” he added.
Further, he said that the verdict came amid increasing, unfair hostility toward Muslims in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California.
When contacted by phone, Dahlberg said, “I’m ruined. I’m absolutely ruined.”
This article is originally appeared on Washington Post