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GREENWOOD — The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) says a hate crime occurred against a Muslim DoorDash driver in the southern Lake Minnetonka area the morning of Sunday, Oct. 27.

According to a Nov. 6 news release from CAIR-MN, the driver was hit repeatedly by a customer shouting “go back to your country” and other Islamophobic, xenophobic and racist slurs. A bystander who witnessed the incident reportedly came to the aid of the victim before law enforcement arrived.

The South Lake Minnetonka Police Department said in a news release police responded to the 5000 block of St. Albans Bay Road.

“Information received by the police was a food delivery driver had been assaulted by a suspect who was dissatisfied as to where the delivery driver had left the food order,” the release says.

The police arrested a 54-year-old male on suspicion of fifth-degree assault. The news release did not mention any hate crimes.

CAIR-MN held a news conference on Nov. 6 to call for the police department to add hate crime “enhancements” to the charges.

“We were very satisfied with the immediate response from the police,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said during the news conference. “We are glad he was arrested but we are looking for charges to be accurate.”

Haarum Galbayte, 47, of Eden Prairie, was the DoorDash driver involved in the incident. At the CAIR-MN news conference, he said he’s a father of seven children and has been driving for DoorDash for about five months. He is still working for the company, he said.

Galbayte said he saw the man come out of the house he had delivered food to and thought he had a question about the delivery, but the man started hitting him and shouting at him instead — banging him on the head three times. He said he did visit the emergency room later that day.

A DoorDash spokesperson released a statement to Lakeshore Weekly News, saying:

“DoorDash was founded as a platform to connect people with possibility, and we do not tolerate any form of malicious, discriminatory or hateful behavior on our platform. We take the safety of our entire community extremely seriously and are cooperating with local law enforcement in this investigation. We have reached out to the Dasher to offer our support during his recovery, and have deactivated the customer from our platform.”

Frances Stevenson is a reporter for the Lakeshore Weekly News, covering the communities around Lake Minnetonka.

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