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Felony Charges Filed Against Man Accused of Hate Crimes in Gaza Protest

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(Courtesy of the city of El Cerrito via Bay City News)

By Bay City News

A man accused of attacking a woman carrying an Israeli flag and setting it on fire at a protest in El Cerrito is being charged with felonies with special hate crime allegations, Contra Costa prosecutors said Friday.

Christopher Khamis Victor Husary, 36, of Hayward faces second-degree robbery, grand theft and arson charges in connection with a Jan. 6 confrontation between supporters of Israel and Palestinians over the war in Gaza.

Husary pushed down a woman carrying an Israeli flag and set it on fire, and took another Israeli flag draped around the shoulders of a second woman, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said.

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“While the First Amendment is fundamental to our democracy, it doesn’t protect threats, injury, intimidation, or property damage,” District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement.

“Moreover, when such actions stem from biases related to race, gender, religion, ancestry, or national origin, they become hate crimes,” she said.

Husary was arrested at his home Wednesday, El Cerrito police said. Though the suspect in the case was wearing a face covering, police said the public helped them identify Husary.

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