A Tulsa man was charged Friday with violating the state of Oklahoma’s hate crime law by hitting a woman and vandalizing her vehicle while calling her a Muslim and a derogatory term for a woman.
Stuart David Manning, 43, was charged Friday in Tulsa County District Court with committing the misdemeanor crime of “malicious intimidation or harassment” on Dec. 13 in the 1500 block of North Lewis Ave.
Manning was arrested Jan. 2 on accusations that he hit the woman in the forehead and stuck a knife in her vehicle’s tire while repeatedly calling her a “Muslim b—-,” his booking report says.
The document describes the victim as being from Lebanon and says she “has a thick Middle Eastern accent and speaks and writes fluent Arabic. At the time of the assault she was wearing a head wrap. She has the appearance of someone that typically is of the Islamic faith.”
Tulsa County First Assistant District Attorney Doug Drummond said Friday evening that “it is our opinion that the statute only requires the defendant have the malicious intent to intimidate or harass a person because of their perception of their race or religion” and would still be applicable even if the woman were not actually Muslim.
“The law is in place to protect innocent victims from being targeted because of their race or religious beliefs,” Drummond said.
The Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations asked the U.S. Department of Justice on Jan. 3 to file a federal hate-crime charge against Manning.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Wilson, chief of the Criminal Division of the Northern District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Friday night that no decision has been made regarding whether to file federal hate crime charges against Manning.
Wilson said federal prosecutors are still “reviewing the reports” and discussing options with their law enforcement partners. He said filing the charge — which is a misdemeanor — in Tulsa County District Court would not preclude eventual federal charges, which he said would not be double jeopardy due to the “dual sovereignty doctrine.”
The dual sovereignty doctrine refers to a legal principle that more than one sovereign entity may prosecute an individual without violating the prohibition against double jeopardy if the individual’s act breaks the laws of each sovereignty.
Wilson has previously said federal hate crime charges also would not be prevented if the woman is not actually Muslim because the relevant law covers acts that are motivated by the “actual or perceived” religion of any person.
Sheryl Siddiqui, a CAIR-OK board member from Tulsa, said Friday night that she is glad to see that law enforcement authorities are taking the situation seriously.
Siddiqui, who also is a spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, expressed hope that justice will be served and that the community will be safe.
Manning was also charged Friday with the misdemeanor crimes of assault and battery and malicious injury to property.
Recently the state’s hate crime law was among the charges filed against Alvin Lee Watts, 34, and Jacob Carl England, 21 in connection with the Good Friday 2012 shootings of five black people — three fatally — at random at four north Tulsa locations.
Watts and England were each sentenced last month to five consecutive life prison terms. They pleaded guilty and accepted plea agreements calling for three life-without-parole sentences for first-degree murder plus two life sentences with parole not prohibited on two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
They pleaded guilty to the state hate-crime charges; sentences for those crimes were ordered to run concurrently. In November, the FBI released a report saying that in 2012 law enforcement agencies across the nation reported that 5,796 hate crime incidents involving 6,718 offenses had occurred, down from 2011 figures of 6,222 incidents involving 7,254 offenses.
Also during 2012, the FBI said there were 7,164 hate crime victims reported across the U.S., which the bureau said included individuals, businesses, institutions and “society as a whole,” down from 7,713 in 2011.