Family members of a man recently arrested for an alleged robbery and anti-Christian disturbance at Stoneridge Shopping Center say the incident was all a misunderstanding.
Abdul Walid Hamid of Hayward appeared before Judge Christine Moruza yesterday for an arraignment on charges of battery, grand theft, terrorist threats and exhibition of a deadly weapon. The arraignment was postponed until 9 a.m. today, however, as he required a translator.
Hamid, 22, who works at a kiosk in the mall, was arrested by Pleasanton police Nov. 4 after he reportedly yelled "Allah is power" and "Islam is great," while holding a pen in a fist over his head and then allegedly grabbing and breaking a crucifix off a man's neck. Witnesses also said he had been shouting anti-Christian comments, according to police.
Lt. Mike Elerick said the man was not provoked and didn't threaten violence, but he committed robbery when he grabbed and broke the crucifix.
Hamid's family members, who declined to give their names, say it was all a misunderstanding. Outside the courtroom, they said Hamid was provoked when the customer with the necklace reportedly called him a derogatory name. They said Hamid put his hand on the customer's shoulder, asking him not to use that word. When the customer pulled away, the family said Hamid's hand came into contact with the necklace and it accidentally broke.
His family also said that he's only been in the country a few months and is still learning the language and the laws.
Co-workers told police that Hamid's actions were out of the ordinary. Police also said they weren't aware of a prior criminal history for the man.
"We had multiple people calling 911," Elerick said. "One female was crouching down and hiding from him. He definitely scared quite a few people."
After Hamid's arrest, he was taken to John George Hospital in San Leandro for a psychiatric evaluation, but is currently in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a $27,000 bail.