A Salem man has been charged with assault and intimidation after an employee at a Salem Middle Eastern restaurant was hit with a pipe, according to officials.
Jason Kendall, 52, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after entering Al Aqsa Fine Middle Eastern Cuisine on State Street and screaming "go back to your country terrorist" and attacking an employee of the restaurant, according to a Marion County probable cause statement.
Kendall told arresting officers he entered the restaurant during a "warrior's path" walk down State Street, when he saw a woman inside who he thought was being held as a slave because of a type of blouse she was wearing. He saw the shirt as a "signal" and he knew "that is what Arab's do."
Kendall said he started yelling because he saw a "Saddam Hussein looking guy" and walked inside the restaurant to tell the young woman she was "free to leave."
Kendall left the restaurant after an employee requested he leave the premises, but returned roughly five minutes later and continued yelling "get out of America" and "Arab, you need to leave (expletive)."
He told arresting officers he saw a plastic "evil totem" outside of the building that had Arabic writing on it, grabbed it, and tossed it at an employee's head.
The employee told officers Kendall threw the plastic object at his head before pursuing him with a pipe.
Kendall yelled expletives as the pipe pounded against the employee's skull. He calls his pipe "the horn of Gabriel."
Arresting officers could feel a sizeable bump on the employee's head.
Kendall said the pipe attack was self-defense, claiming the employee was armed with what he thought was an ice-pick under a napkin.
Kendall is facing one count of second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree intimidation.
The intimidation charge refers to Kendall threatening to inflict physical injury based on his perception of the race or national origin of the employee.
Stella Brown heard about what happened at the restaurant and came to support the business Friday afternoon.
"I'm really really saddened by that. I don't think it's reflective of the community I've lived in for so long," Brown said. "I just think somebody should be able to live and work in the community and not be accosted by folks who don't think they belong here. I think we all belong here."
Second-degree assault is a Measure 11 crime that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 70 months in prison.
Kendall is being held in Marion County Jail on $65,000 bail. He is scheduled for an arraignment indictment on Friday, March 17 at 8:30 a.m. with Judge Daniel Wren.