Robert Goodall accused of punching Somali cabbie and running from police
The Burnsville cops called for the 30-year-old Ohio man to stop, but he kept going.
The nearby cab driver explained that he had picked Goodall up and, at his passenger's request, driven to a cul-de-sac near the Burnsville Inn and Suites, according to police. When they stopped, Goodall asked the driver where he was from.
After the driver responded that he was Somali, Goodall began laughing, says Burnsville police spokesman Sgt. Rory Bochniak.
Goodall then allegedly punched the driver in the back of the shoulder, according to charges (PDF here). The driver got out of the car and called the cops while Goodall ripped out parts of the dash board and radio controls.
When officers finally caught up with Goodall, he explained that the cab driver had slapped him. He blacked out after that, he told police, and didn't remember much else.
The Dakota County Attorney's Office slapped Goodall with felony criminal damage to property and misdemeanor fleeing a peace officer. If convicted, he could face more than five years in prison and up to $11,000 in fines.
Though Goodall hit the driver after asking about his race, Bochniak says police did not classify the crime as bias.
"We don't have a whole lot of that going on, especially bias crimes with cab drivers of any type," says Bochniak.