OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A local college professor is charged with a hate crime, accused of spitting on a Black woman and yelling racial slurs at the woman and her 7-year-old daughter.
Alberto Friedmann is charged with aggravated assault and a hate crime in the incident earlier this month.
Prosecutors from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said at 4:33 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2, the woman and her daughter were in their car – parked along the traffic lane between the aisles and the Jewel-Osco at 438 W. Madison St. in Oak Park, but not blocking traffic as they waited for the woman’s mother to finish shopping in the Jewel store.
At that point, prosecutors said, the woman saw someone honking and yelling and saw Friedmann behind them in his Jaguar. Prosecutors said Friedmann called the woman the N-word and demanded that she move her car.
The woman motioned for Friedmann to drive around her, but Friedmann kept yelling racial slurs at the woman and her daughter and then got out of his car and approached them while going on yelling slurs, prosecutors said. The woman then tried to get out of her car, but Friedmann pushed the door closed, and then he spat in the woman’s face, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors alleged that Friedmann told the woman he spat at her he does not like Black people.
The woman’s mother had come out of the store by then and saw Friedmann yelling racial slurs and spitting at the woman, prosecutors said.
Friedmann then got back in his car, while the woman got out and tried to get his license plate number – but she did not see one, prosecutors said.
The woman called out for someone to call police, then threw a water bottle at Friedmann’s car to try to prevent him from leaving before police got there, prosecutors said.
As the woman walked back around her car toward the passenger side of Friedmann’s car, Friedmann accelerated his car toward the woman and came within inches of hitting her, prosecutors alleged. The woman had to sidestep Friedmann’s car to prevent being struck, prosecutors said.
Friedmann then hit the rear driver’s-side bumper and driver-side front door of the woman’s car, causing damage. He then got out of his car, as witnesses began to intervene, prosecutors said.
Police came soon afterward and arrested Friedman, who later admitted to spitting at the woman and striking her car, prosecutors said.
There is surveillance video of the incident from the Jewel store.
According to Friedmann’s LinkedIn profile, he is a professor at the National University of Health Sciences.
John McNamara, an attorney for Friedmann, said the professor didn’t use racial slurs during the encounter.
“It’s our position that it’s fabricated that he used any such language,” McNamara told a judge. “He’s a minority himself. He’s a child of immigrants. This is completely outside of his nature.”
A spokesperson for the National University of Health Sciences told The New York Post that Friedmann’s employment has been suspended pending the criminal investigation.