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U of I Law Prof Is Severely Injured by Knife-Wielding Attacker in Possible Hate Crime

Posted Dec 8, 2011 12:44 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Updated: A University of Illinois law professor waiting for a train to Chicago is hospitalized after he was stabbed in the throat Wednesday in a possible hate crime.

The professor, 41-year-old Anurudha Udeni Dhammika Dharmapala, has expertise in law and economics, and tax policy, the Champaign News-Gazette reports. A witness told police that Dharmapala was in the waiting area at the Illinois terminal when a man jumped up, shouted it was his country, and then attacked the professor.

An unidentified witness pulled the attacker away from Dharmapala. Police have charged Joshua Scaggs, 23, of Fithian, Ill., with attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery, the story says. Assistant State's Attorney Steve Ziegler told the newspaper he decided not to charge Scaggs with a hate crime because the other charges have stiffer penalties.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for federal civil rights charges against the alleged attacker, according to a press release.

U of I president Michael Hogan sent an email to faculty and staff expressing thanks to those who intervened to help Dharmapala. "As some of you may have read in the newspapers, this morning a member of our faculty was severely injured during what appears to have been a senseless act of aggression and alleged hate crime by another not affiliated with the University of Illinois,” the email said. "The thoughts of the entire university community are with the victim and his family, wishing for a complete and speedy recovery."

Hat tip to Above the Law.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. to include information from the CAIR press release.

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