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Man accused of assaulting East Indian students at UNM


A man has been arraigned on three counts of battery in attacks on two East Indian students near the University of New Mexico.

Turan Johnson, 34, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Sunday. Bond was set at $10,000.

Johnson had been picked up last week and was taken to UNM’s mental health center for an evaluation after an attack last Wednesday on an East Indian student near campus, the latest in a string of assaults on men of Indian descent.

According to a criminal complaint, a UNM student walking adjacent to campus was kicked in the middle of the back and knocked to the ground.

Albuquerque police are investigating whether Johnson might be behind other reported attacks.

The Albuquerque Police Department has about 20 reports of similar attacks, John Walsh, a spokesman for the department, said last week. He said members of the East Indian community had not reported the attacks in recent months, “but once it came to light they’ve been reporting it.”

Police have been investigating whether the assaults are hate crimes.

– Associated Press

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