A Saudi Arabian student who investigators say spat in the face of a Walmart customer after the customer told her she was going in the wrong door was arrested on a hate-crime charge, Palm Bay police said Monday.
Nuha Mohammed Al-Doaifi, 31, an engineering student at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, was arrested on a charge of battery. The hate-crime determination means the charge could be elevated to a felony, said Yvonne Martinez, a police spokeswoman.
"Americans are pushing us around," Al-Doaifi told police as they approached to arrest her, a report states.
Al-Doaifi also spat at another customer because he got too close to her, but he managed to stay out of range, police said.
Al-Doaifi told officers she was spitting on "white people" because of the way her people are treated and that a "higher authority" made her do it, an officer wrote.
The incident happened about 1 p.m. Sunday as Al-Doaifi hit a door with her cart as she was going into the store at 1040 Malabar Road, a report states. That's when she spat in the woman's face, police said
Al-Doaifi was with her 15-month-old son, who was sitting in a shopping cart. An item on the cart had saliva on it, an officer wrote. The state Department of Children and Families turned the boy over to his father when his mother was taken to the Brevard County Jail.
The father told officers that Al-Doaifi spat at an FIT professor two or three weeks ago, they said. The school's dean notified the Saudi Arabian Embassy, which counseled her, Martinez said.
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