A man has been charged with a hate crime after prosecutors say he attacked his Houston Lyft driver — while the victim was driving, the Harris County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday.
Matthew Dunn, 39, was a passenger in the man's car on the Northwest Freeway during the early morning hours of July 21, the DA's office said. He allegedly attacked the driver because of his Middle Eastern heritage.
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Prosecutors say Dunn started by "berating" the driver over his Middle Eastern background and his religion —then he grabbed the driver by the hair, punched him and choked him.
“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 is charged with assault causing bodily injury, a misdemeanor, with enhanced punishment for targeting a victim based on race, ethnicity or religion. He faces a minimum of 180 days in jail.
Dunn is currently on the lam, though, and so Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to Dunn's whereabouts. Anyone who knows where he is should call 713-222-TIPS.