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Man denies role in hate crime near California mosque, says police

Matteson on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the charges, including disturbing the peace by fighting and violating civil rights.

By: AP | Simi Valley |
December 14, 2016 8:32:42 am
California mosque hate crime, hate crime, US mosque hate crime, hate crimes, Simi Valley mosque hate crime, world news, indian express news Josh Matteson, a primary suspect claimed by the South California police to be involved in the crime. (Source: AP)

Police in a Southern California suburb are still seeking a man suspected of a hate crime for stabbing a worshipper near a mosque, authorities said, while his alleged accomplice has denied his role in the attack. John Matteson, 29, was involved in the crime, but he was not the one who wielded the knife and stabbed a worshiper from the mosque in Simi Valley, police and prosecutors said.

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Matteson on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the charges, including disturbing the peace by fighting and violating civil rights. Hate-crime enhancements added to the charges make them felonies. The two men approached a group of people who had just left the mosque late Saturday night and yelled slurs at them, police spokesman Sgt Travis Coffey said.

That escalated to a physical fight when the suspect stabbed the man, whose injuries were not life-threatening, Coffey said. It does not appear that the men had planned the attack or staked out the mosque, but they had merely run across the group of Muslims, police said.

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