EL CERRITO (BCN) — Police in El Cerrito have arrested a suspect in connection with what is being called a hate crime, and the victim is a 69-year-old man of Middle Eastern descent.

At about 3 p.m. Thursday, police responded to a report of an assault on the man near the intersection of San Pablo and Potrero avenues.

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Officers said the victim was approached by the suspect who asked him for a cigarette. When the victim refused, the suspect made race-based comments before punching him in the head. The victim fell to the ground and lost consciousness. A witness called police.

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Officers arrived at the scene and located the suspect in the parking lot of the Hotel Mira Vista Berkeley North. The suspect refused to comply with officers’ commands, and they took him into custody by detaining him with a standing bear hug. Once in handcuffs, the suspect began acting erratically and refused to sit in a police car. Officers used a strap device to immobilize him and called for a medical response to evaluate his physical wellbeing.

The victim sought medical treatment for his injuries. The suspect was transported to the hospital for a health check, prior to being taken to Contra Costa County Jail in Martinez.

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Officers identified the suspect as Nicholas Andre Kimmons, 40, of Richmond.

El Cerrito police investigators plan to present charges for felony battery with enhancements for a hate crime and elder abuse to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

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