A professor is charged with a hate crime and accused of spitting on a Black woman and hurling racial slurs at her and her 7-year-old daughter outside a suburban Chicago grocery store earlier this month, court records said.
In addition to the felony hate crime charge, Alberto Friedmann is also charged with felony aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, according to court records from Cook County.
The alleged incident on the afternoon of Sept. 7 occurred outside a Jewel-Osco store in Oak Park, a village about 10 miles from Chicago.
Friedmann, 53, teaches neurokinesiology at the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, Illinois. His attorney, John McNamara, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On the day of the alleged attack, the woman and her daughter were parked in front of the store while they waited for the woman’s mother to finish shopping, court records said.
While in the car, the woman heard someone “honking and yelling” and saw a man, later identified as Friedmann, in a Jaguar behind her.
The woman heard the man yell using a racial slur, “Move your f------ car,” court records said.
The woman motioned for the driver behind her to drive around, records said. But the driver continued yelling racial slurs and exited his car and approached the woman’s car, court documents state.
The woman attempted to exit her car, but the man pushed the door closed, then spat in her face, according to court records. The defendant told the woman he spat on her “because he doesn’t like Black people,” court records said.
The woman’s mother, who had exited the store, witnessed the man yelling racial slurs and saw him spit on her daughter, records said.
The woman exited her car to get the man’s license plate and yelled for someone to call the police, records said. She threw a water bottle at his car to try to prevent him from leaving before police arrived.
The man accelerated his car toward the woman, “nearly striking her with his car,” per court records. Prosecutors allege in the court document the man “came within inches” of striking the woman. The man did strike the rear driver’s side bumper, and the driver’s-side door of the woman’s car, records said.
Records said police arrived shortly after and placed the man in custody. An officer observed how his vehicle crashed into the woman’s driver’s-side door, records said.
The man, per court records, made "admissions to spitting” on the woman and striking her car. The store’s surveillance video captured the incident, according to the court records.
Friedmann appeared in court Sunday and was released on $2,500 bail, court records said. McNamara said at the hearing that his client, a minority and a “child of immigrants,” denies using any racial language.
Officials with the National University of Health Sciences did not immediately respond to an email for comment Tuesday. In a statement to NBC Chicago, the school said, “We take allegations of misconduct seriously, and therefore have suspended Alberto Friedmann pending the results of a university investigation.”
NBC Chicago also reported Illinois state Rep. La Shawn Ford said some of the teacher’s students contacted him about the incident.
“They sent letters to higher-ups. They are destroyed because they are taught by this person, and their question is what type of person this is,” he said.