Man Charged With Hate Crime For Attack on Cab Driver In Downtown Seattle

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee March 30, 2010

Prosecutors have filed reckless endangerment and malicious harassment charges—Washington State's hate crime law—against a man who allegedly shouted racist epithets and tried to choke a cab driver in Downtown Seattle earlier this month.

Charging documents say police officers flagged down a cab driver in front of the Paramount Hotel at 8th and Pine at about 8:30pm on March 22nd and told the driver to take Ron James Voigt, 31, and his dog to Pioneer Square.

Court records say that while driving through downtown, Voigt told the driver to "take me home" but did not provide an address. Voigt then allegedly shouted "take me home, nigger," at the driver before he reached into the front seat and began choking him. The driver stopped the cab and Voigt got out.

When the driver followed him, trying to collect the man's $11 fare, records say Voigt shoved the cabbie and attempted to choke him again.

A King County Sheriff's Deputy on patrol in the area spotted the assault and arrested Voigt.

Charging documents say Voigt—who moved to Seattle from Montana four months ago—was "extremely intoxicated" during the incident, and has multiple convictions for DUI and spousal battery.

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