An Illinois police officer was one of three people arrested in Huntington Beach, California, for stabbing a teenager. The victim claims he was targeted because he was speaking Arabic.
As KABC (Los Angeles) reports, 28-year-old Arthur Roman is — for the time being — a police officer with the Oak Forest Police Department in suburban Chicago. Roman was on vacation in Huntington Beach, California, when the alleged stabbing incident occurred.
Two other individuals, identified as Roman’s brother, Martin Roman, and Martin’s wife, Jessica, were also involved in the stabbing.
“He was like, ‘What’s up ‘obamabam?’ I don’t even know what that means. So, I said, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘What’s up ‘obamabam?’ He said it like he was mad.”
Asem said this was not the first time someone had tried to antagonize him because of his heritage, so he proceeded with caution.
“I came back very, very nicely, because we have faced this type of situation before.”
What happened next is not clear, but the confrontation ended with the teenager being stabbed.
“When I stood up, it was just like a fountain squirting blood, like blood everywhere.”
According to police, it was Martin Roman who actually stabbed the teenager. Regardless, all three suspects face felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon, as well as battery.
The suspects sped away in their car, but were arrested a short time later. Arthur Roman posted bail on Monday; it is not clear if the other two suspects in the alleged stabbing have made bail.
Jarrah, meanwhile, was taken to an area hospital, where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.
As of this writing, police have declined to call the stabbing a hate crime, but as far as Karam Jarrah is concerned, he was victimized for speaking Arabic and/or looking Middle Eastern.
“Was it like a racial issue? Is it because we were speaking Arabic or it can be like just the way we look?”
Dghem was alarmed that one of his relative’s alleged assailants was a police officer.
“They have to actually protect us, not stab us. He’s a police officer, actually, he’s supposed to be role model.”
Back in Illinois, Arthur Roman’s career with the Oak Forest Police Department is on hold until further notice, according to the Chicago Tribune. Oak Forest Deputy Chief Timothy Kristin, speaking on behalf of the Department, said that he has little information about what led to Roman’s arrest. However, he confirmed that Roman will be placed on administrative leave when he returns to Illinois. Kristin said that the Village will have to determine whether Roman is placed on paid or unpaid leave.
“We will be conducting an internal revenue and take action based on that internal investigation.”
Kristin also declined, on behalf of the Department, to provide the Tribune with any information about Roman’s career with the Oak Forest P.D., nor provide his personnel files. The Tribune was able to confirm, through Village of Oak Forest public records, that Roman was sworn in, along with two other officers, at a council meeting on Oct. 18, 2014.
Arthur Roman is due to appear in a California court on April 27.
[Image courtesy of Huntington Beach Police Department via WBBM]