A Madison man was arrested Wednesday on tentative charges of substantial  battery and disorderly conduct with a hate crime enhancer after police say he  attacked a man of Moroccan heritage on a Downtown street.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., called for  federal hate crime charges to be filed against Derek J. Cannon, 21.

According to police:

The victim, a 40-year-old Madison man, was taken to a hospital with head  injuries after the unprovoked attack around 1:15 a.m. in the 200 block of West  Gorham Street.

A friend of the victim told police the two were walking toward State Street  when they saw two other men acting wildly and knocking over and attempting to  damage parked mopeds. As they tried to hurry from the area, at least one of the  men came at them saying, “(expletive) Osama Bin Laden.”

The victim said he was punched, knocked to the ground and kicked, and  believes he lost consciousness.

A cab driver helped officers locate Cannon, who claimed he had reacted in  self-defense. But several witnesses said Cannon was clearly the aggressor and  that the victim had done all he could to get away.

“These types of attacks are becoming all too frequent and should be  prosecuted to the full extent of the law as a clear demonstration that  bias-motivated attacks will not be tolerated in Wisconsin or in America,” said  Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who thanked police  for “recognizing the seriousness of the incident.”


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