Crime

Victim forgives food cart owner accused of assault

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- A Portland woman is trying to wrap her mind around being the victim of what she's calling a hate crime after a food cart owner threw a bottle of Gatorade at her in downtown Portland.

A video the victim filmed of the attack shows Small Pharoah's halal cart owner, Islam El Masry, 38, arguing with her for trying to pay with quarters.

"I didn't ask for this, I just wanted to eat," Carlotta Washington told KOIN 6 News.

Washington said he called her the n-word before the started filming. The video shows him throw a Gatorade bottle at her and then she says he sprayed her with Sriracha sauce. 

"It was scary because I didn't know what more could he do after pouring this hot sauce on me what more would this man do?" she said.

El Masrydidn't respond to a call for comment but another employee at the food cart told KOIN 6 News El Masry is a hot head, but not a racist. She said the owner claims Washington threw a bottle at him first. 

"I shoved the bottles that were in the window," Washington said Thursday. "I shoved them back at him but I didn't pick anything up and throw it back at him."

She admits to being angry and yelling at El Masry, but doesn't feel she didn't anything wrong.

Watch: Washington's video of the attack (warning: graphic language)

Witnesses could be heard in the video coming to Washington's defense.

"When I'm hearing this woman simply asking for respect, my jaw was dropping," witness Tony said. "Once he got to the point of spraying hot sauce in her face, it was unbelievable. I couldn't even believe was I was witnessing." 

Tony said he goes to that food cart often but won't be back.

As Washington continues to wrap her mind around what happened, she hopes others will continue to speak up.

"I have no choice but to be strong despite how broken I feel in this moment," she said. "I want people to know it's not OK and we don't have to accept anyone calling us out of our name or someone mistreating us period."

El Masrywas arrested on charges of harassment and assault and pleaded not guilty in court Thursday. 

Despite what happened, Washington doesn't want El Masry's business to suffer.

"I would 100% still support his business," she said. "I don't want anyone to do anything bad to this man, to his business, or to anything. Words are things that are going to be hard to get over but I want this man to know that he is forgiven."


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