Darien man charged in black hate crime

Updated 6/21/2011 5:41 PM
  • Ali Akel

    Ali Akel

A Darien man was charged with a hate crime Tuesday for directing racial slurs at two black men in a Woodridge gas station before throwing one of them to the floor and attacking him, prosecutors said.

Ali Akel, 32, appeared in DuPage County bond court, where he told Judge Michael Wolfe he's likely to plead guilty.

Woodridge police arrested Akel about 3:30 p.m. Monday after he made racial slurs at the men as he waited in line at a Mobil station on the 1900 block of 75th Street, authorities said.

After his remarks, Akel spat on the men, then threw one of them down and began punching him, Assistant State's Attorney Deb Brewer said.

The altercation ended when another person intervened and pulled Akel off the victim, prosecutors said. Woodridge police said the victim, a 22-year-old Chicago man, suffered minor injuries but was not hospitalized.

Akel was charged with hate crime and aggravated battery, both felonies, as well as misdemeanor marijuana possession. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to five years in prison.

In court Tuesday, Akel denied using "the N word" but indicated to the judge he wants to plead guilty.

"Is there any way I can just plead guilty to the charges and get a reduced sentence?" Akel asked Wolfe, who advised him not to discuss the case in open court. Asked whether he could hire an attorney, Akel said, "You know what, I'm probably just going to plead guilty."

Court records show Akel was charged with disorderly conduct in November 2007 after he allegedly sent two men, including at least one relative, text messages containing a photo of himself displaying his middle finger and pointing a revolver. The case was dismissed after the complaining witnesses declined to pursue the charges, according to court records.

In June 2005, Akel was accused of attempting to steal a $210,000 Ferrari Spider from a Hinsdale auto dealer and resisting police during his arrest.

Records also show two male relatives have been granted emergency orders of protection against Akel since 2007.

His bail was set Tuesday at $10,000. By noon, he had posted the necessary $1,000 to be released from the county jail, authorities said.

His next court date is July 25 before Judge George Bakalis.