Attorneys: Face Stabbing at Pines Market Was Racially Motivated

A man who was stabbed in the face at a Pembroke Pines sandwich shop earlier this month is alleging the attack was racially motivated and wants charges against the attacker increased.

Harold Williams, who was visiting from the Bahamas, was running medical errands on March 16 when he stopped at Pines Market on Pines Boulevard to go to the restroom. He walked out with his face slashed.

“I have flashbacks of the young man,” Williams said in a news conference Thursday. “I see his face when I sleep. I see the knife.”

A police report said Williams asked an employee, identified as 24-year-old Fawaz Hassan, if he could use their restroom. Hassan gave him permission but attacked him seconds later with a kitchen knife and slashed his cheek.

As Williams was backing away and exiting the restaurant, another employee threw his cellphone out the door and told him “Don’t come back.”

Williams said he does not know the motive of his attacker, but he and his attorneys believe race may have been a factor.

“I don’t know what motivated him to attack me, but I watch the news in the United States and I see how black and brown people are treated, and I can’t help but wonder if he stabbed me in the face because of the color of my skin,” Williams said in a statement.

Hassan was ultimately charged with aggravated battery, but Williams’ attorneys want the charges increased to attempted manslaughter or attempted murder.

“A reasonable person doesn’t stab somebody in the head and think that they’re not taking a chance at killing that person,” said attorney Jasmine Rand.

Williams’ second attorney, Benjamin Crump, said in a statement that they are seeking answers as to why the second employee has not been charged.

“We consistently see criminals undercharged when the victim is black,” Crump said.

NBC 6 has reached out to Hassan’s lawyers but have not heard back.