A Houston man is accused of a
hate crime for attacking a Lyft driver over his Middle Eastern heritage,
prosecutors announced Thursday.
Matthew W. Dunn, 39, is charged
with an assault that caused bodily injury, according to the Harris County
District Attorney’s Office.
He faces enhanced punishment
for selecting a victim based on prejudice against a group identified by race,
religion or national origin, under Texas law.
“We came through Harvey because
of the cooperation of our diverse communities and their willingness to help
each other without regard to race, creed or color,” Harris County District
Attorney Kim Ogg said. “A hate crime unleashes fear in an entire community.”
Dunn, who was a Lyft passenger,
is accused of berating the driver over his background and religion, then
grabbing the driver by the hair, punching him and choking him, while the victim
was behind the wheel on the Northwest Freeway, according to court papers.
The incident, which was
investigated by the Houston Police Department, occurred in the early morning
hours of July 21, 2017.
Dunn faces a minimum of 180
days in jail if convicted of Class A assault and a hate-crimes enhancement that
were filed this week.
Crime Stoppers of Houston is
offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information on Dunn’s whereabouts. Call
County District Attorney’s Office