NPR logo Saudi Woman Faces Hate Crime Charge Over Spitting Incident In Fla.

Saudi Woman Faces Hate Crime Charge Over Spitting Incident In Fla.

Police in Palm Bay, Fla. arrested a 21-year-old Saudi woman and charged her with a hate crime after police said she spit on Wal-Mart customers because "Americans are pushing us around."

Florida Today reports that Nuha Mohammed Al-Doaifi was walking into a Wal-Mart, when Terry Rakowski, 39, told her she was using the wrong door. Rakowski said Al-Doaifi looked at her and spit in her face before heading into the store. The paper adds that police say Al-Doaifi spit on several other customers:

Now, Nuha Mohammed Al-Doaifi, a Saudi Arabian national, faces the battery charge with a hate crime enhancement, which means that the first-degree misdemeanor battery charge could be elevated to a third-degree felony bringing a chance of greater punishment if convicted, prosecutors said.

"Her actions were directed at random people based on their ethnicity, and that's according to her own statement," said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Al-Doaifi had her 15-month-old son with her and that police said the boy's father said Al-Doaifi had spit on a Florida Institute of Technology professor a few weeks ago.

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