Nashville man indicted for hate crime, lying to FBI in reported assault on Muslim family

Christopher Lee Beckham has been charged with harassment and aggravated assault by Metro Police. (Photo: Metro Nashville Police Department)

A Nashville man is now facing federal charges for allegedly threatening two Muslim teens and their father last year.

Officials say, Christopher Beckham, 32, was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act and lying to the FBI.

Beckham was also charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of misdemeanor assault after the incident in Oct. 2017.

According to Metro Police, two teen girls wearing hijabs were walking along Lebanon Pike after getting off their school bus when they passed Beckham, who was also on foot.

Beckham reportedly became verbally abusive as he walked toward them, threatening to beat them up.

According to the federal indictment, Beckham yelled multiple derogatory things at the girls, including “Allahu Akbar!” and “Go back to your country!”

The teens’ father, a cab driver, reportedly saw Beckham approach his daughters as he was driving home.

When he got out to help his daughters, Beckham allegedly became verbally abusive to him as well and threatened him with a knife.

Beckham continued his verbal attacks on the family even after the authorities arrived, according to police.

He was taken into custody and booked into the Metro jail on a $20,000 bond.

Court documents say Beckham repeatedly lied to the FBI special agents when they questioned him about the incident. Officials say he claimed he saw the girls trying to break into cars.

Beckham also told the FBI that he never threatened their father with his knife, but also claimed, after he pulled out the weapon, it was the girls who yelled "Allah Akbar!" rather than him. Officials say Beckham also falsely claimed at least one of the girls hit him on the back of the head.

If convicted of a hate crime, Beckham faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted of lying to the FBI.

Beckham's federal indictment was unsealed today following his arrest on Friday evening.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Sarah Beth Myers of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorneys Christine M. Siscaretti and Rachel Kincaid of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Officials say an indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

He will be in court on local charges on April 26.

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