Somali Bantu Community Asking For Public’s Help After Cab Driver Nearly Beaten To Death

PITTSBURGH (KDKA)  – A Somali cab driver is nearly beaten to death in Beltzhoover.

Police say there is no evidence it was a hate crime.

Still, members of the Somali Bantu community in Pittsburgh are concerned.

They called a press conference at the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh Thursday.

Police are not releasing the victim’s name at his family’s request. He is in critical condition at UPMC Presbyterian. Police and members of the Somali Bantu community are asking for the public’s help to solve this crime.

“We need to know what happened and who did this. We are all American citizens. But before that, we are all humans,” said Omar Matali.

Police say the 30-year-old zTrip cab driver was found lying face down, unresponsive in the 400 block of Climax Street.

“At this point there’s no evidence that this case is a hate crime,” said Pittsburgh Police Assistant Chief Lavonnie Bickerstaff.

It happened in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Someone requested a ride. Police don’t know if the rider was picked up.

The man’s cab was found a day later, a few blocks away.

“I’d ask everybody to keep praying for their brother in the hospital. That should be what’s on everyone’s mind,” said Wasi Mohammed.

Even though police say the crime appears to be a robbery attempt, they still notified the FBI.

“We did discuss the facts of the case with them to make sure that they were alerted that some of the Somali Bantu community feels that this may be a hate crime,” said Assistant Chief Bickerstaff.

“We are not asking for special treatment. We want to be treated just like everyone else,” said Matali.

“If everybody wants to show their support please do so. If you know community members, reach out to them. And also if you have information about this please come to the police. That’s crucial,” said Mohammed.

Assistant Chief Bickerstaff stressed the Bureau’s commitment to the safety of the Somali Bantu community.

They ask for anyone with any information to call 412.323.7161.

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