Man Accused of Accosting Convenience Store Clerk to Fight Charges

By Ari Mason and Ilana Gold
|  Friday, Dec 6, 2013  |  Updated 9:11 PM EDT
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It happened at the Sams Food Store in New London Thursday night  Police say a customer got mad at the clerk made racial slurs then jumped over the counter and beat him up

It happened at the Sams Food Store in New London Thursday night Police say a customer got mad at the clerk made racial slurs then jumped over the counter and beat him up

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A New London man is facing charges after police say he attacked a convenience store employee and made racial slurs.

Max Whitehead, 28, is accused of assaulting a worker at the Sam’s Food Store on Ocean Avenue. Police say the altercation happened around 6:30 p.m. Thursday when Whitehead, a customer, became upset and threw money at the clerk, then climbed over the counter and starting hitting him with his fists.

"It was really bad," said Bilal Ahmer, who was working at the store when it happened. "I was scared too."

Whitehead is also accused of making a racist comment toward the clerk while punching him, police said. According to Bilal, "go back to your country" and "you are a terrorist" are two of those comments.

Bilal said he called 911 when his coworker fought back against Whitehead and said other customers held the doors closed so Whitehead couldn't leave before the police arrived.

But Whitehead said he's been wrongly accused.

"It's extremely unfair," he said after he was released from jail. He showed NBC Connecticut marks on his body that he said came from the fight. "I have never been a racist in my life."

He’s charged with intimidation based on bigotry and bias, third-degree assault and breach of peace and is being held on a $50,000 bond.

Whitehead said he plans to fight the charges.

Police said the store clerk was not seriously injured in the encounter.

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