A college professor in Illinois has been charged with a hate crime in connection with a confrontation outside a grocery store in a Chicago suburb earlier this month. Alberto Friedmann, 53, allegedly spat on a Black woman and yelled racial slurs at the woman and her 7-year-old daughter in a dispute in the parking lot of the Oak Park store, NBC reports. Prosecutors say the woman was parked outside the store but not blocking traffic when she heard Friedmann "honking and yelling" in a Jaguar behind her, per CBS Chicago. He allegedly yelled slurs when she motioned for him to drive around her. He then allegedly got out of his car and spat in the woman's face when she tried to leave her vehicle.
The woman had been waiting for her mother, who witnessed the confrontation after leaving the store. According to court records, the professor told the woman he spat on her because he "doesn't like Black people." Friedmann has also been charged with aggravated assault. Prosecutors say that when the woman got out of her car to try to get his license plate number, he accelerated toward her, narrowly missing her and deliberately hitting her vehicle, causing damage on the driver's side, reports the Chicago Tribune. Witnesses intervened when he got out of his car a second time.
Prosecutors say that when police took him into custody, Friedmann admitted spitting on the woman and hitting her car. At a court hearing Sunday, Friedmann's lawyer says his client denies using racial slurs. "He’s a minority himself. He’s a child of immigrants," the attorney said. Friedmann teaches neurokinesiology at the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, another Chicago suburb. The institution says he has been suspended pending an investigation. (Read more Illinois stories.)