Case involving alleged attack on Muslim woman will go to trial

The case of Kettering man who allegedly committed a physical and verbal attack on a Muslim woman in a Meijer grocery store in the city will go to trial, a judge ruled.

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Albert Ross, 48, of Kettering has been charged with simple assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, for an incident that happened at 2:45 p.m. on Feb. 23, in the Meijer store on Wilmington Pike. Ross allegedly physically and verbally attacked a 25-year-old Muslim woman, while his wife was with him. She was not charged.

Judge Frederick Dressel presided over the pre-trial conference with Ross and his attorney, Michael Sheets present. Kettering prosecutor Nolan Thomas is handling the case.

After a brief meeting, Dressel decided that the case will head to trial at a date that has yet to be determined. Sheets was unavailable for comment.

Members of the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) want the simple assault case also designated as a hate crime.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CAIR-Ohio’s Cincinnati staff attorney, Sana Hassan, was present at Thursday’s pre-trial conference. She said she is pleased that the judge did schedule the case to go to trial, but remains hopeful that the case will have the hate crime designation added.

“To fail to charge this crime properly is to fail to uphold justice in this case,” she said. “We are thankful for the community member that showed up at the pre-trial conference and hope they show up for the trial when the date is announced.”

Kettering spokeswoman Stacy Schweikhart said the city “condemns all acts of violence and intimidation, particularly those done because of the victim’s race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.”

She added that the city feels the case has been properly charged.

“This is an assault case, which does not support a charge of ethnic intimidation under ORC 2927.12,” Schweikhart said.

Any person who witnessed the incident is urged to come forward and contact the Kettering Police Department at 296-2555.

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