A deranged man caught on surveillance video punching a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in the head at a Michigan hospital possibly attacked her because of her religion, the woman’s lawyer said.
John Deliz, 57, crept up behind the 19-year-old woman and swung at her multiple times, knocking her to the ground, while she was waiting at a reception desk in Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn, video shows.
The alleged assault happened on Feb. 10. The woman recently filed a lawsuit seeking $25,000 in damages from the hospital.
“Certainly, after watching the video, and hearing my client’s version of events, the circumstantial evidence would lead one to conclude that the attack was religiously motivated,” Majed Moughni, the woman’s attorney, told CBS News. “There were five people in the lobby and my client was the only one who wore the hijab.”
Moughni said the hospital knew Deliz has a medical condition, but the staff discharged him instead of treating him. Deliz, who is bipolar and schizophrenic, said in court he escaped a group home without taking his medication, the attorney told the network.
Beaumont said its staff acted appropriately during the incident.
“Beaumont security personnel responded immediately and took action to protect the patient and others in the emergency room,” the hospital said in a statement to The Detroit News.
The woman was at the hospital for a slip and fall accident, her suit says.
Meanwhile, Deliz was roaming the hallways while waiting for a cab and asking people for cigarettes after he was discharged, according to a police report.
“She’ll never probably be the same person again. She’s emotionally distressed,” Moughni told The Detroit News. “She’s always looking behind her to make sure she’s not going to get attacked again.”
Deliz is in custody awaiting his next court appearance in May.