Investigations are underway after a university professor was charged with multiple felonies after allegedly yelling racial slurs and spitting on a Black woman at a suburban grocery store earlier this month.
According to prosecutors, surveillance video captured the incident, which took place Sept. 7 at the Jewel-Osco store in suburban Oak Park, Illinois.
Prosecutors say that a woman and her 7-year-old daughter were parked in front of the store waiting for the woman’s mother to finish shopping. They then heard honking and yelling from another vehicle, which prosecutors say was driven by Alberto Friedmann.
The woman says she told the man to drive around her, but Friedmann then allegedly got out of his car and began screaming racial slurs at her.
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The woman says she attempted to exit her car, but Friedmann allegedly pushed the door closed and then spit in her face, telling her that he spit on her because he “didn’t like Black people,” according to prosecutors.
Friedmann also allegedly intentionally hit the woman’s car with his car, and he admitted to prosecutors that he spit on the woman during the altercation.
The professor now faces charges of aggravated assault and committing a hate crime, both of which are felonies.
“That is just atrocious. Why would you treat another person like that?” Oak Park resident Cole Swiernik said.
According to officials, Friedmann teaches at the National University of Health Sciences in suburban Lombard.
Now, students at the school are expressing their shock and outrage at the allegations against the professor. Illinois State Rep. LaShawn Ford says some of the teacher’s students contacted him about the incident.
“They sent letters to higher-ups. They are destroyed because they are taught by this person, and their question is what type of person this is,” Ford said.
In a statement, the school told NBC Chicago that they are investigating the incident, and that Friedmann has been suspended indefinitely.
“We take allegations of misconduct seriously, and therefore have suspended Alberto Friedmann pending the results of a university investigation,” the school said.
Friedmann was released on bond on the felony charges, and is due back in court Wednesday.