Suspect in GR taxi driver attack enters plea deal

Jacob Holtzlander
Jacob Holtzlander was arraigned via video on Dec. 1, 2016.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who shouted racial slurs at a Grand Rapids taxi driver he attacked has entered a plea deal.

Jacob Holtzlander, 23, entered a guilty plea to ethnic intimidation Wednesday in Kent County Circuit Court. He was in court for a status conference when he entered the plea deal.

As part of the plea agreement, an assault and battery charge was dropped. In addition, a maximum 93-day jail sentence was agreed upon.

Holtzlander will be sentenced on Feb. 28.

Police say taxi driver Yemaj Adem, was picking up five women outside The B.O.B. just before 2:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 when a man also entered his vehicle.

Officers said about a mile into the ride, the women asked to get out at Straight Avenue and W. Fulton Street because the male passenger made them uncomfortable.

The suspect then asked Adem to take him to another location. When the driver told him it would cost him more money, police say the suspect punched Adem in the head and face while repeatedly yelling, “Trump.”

In police video recorded after the passenger’s arrest, the suspect can be heard off-camera repeatedly saying racial slurs about the victim, who was talking to officers.

Jacob Holtzlander
A Nov. 12, 2016 mug shot of Jacob Holtzlander.

Adem said Holtzlander seemed drunk and police agreed they believe alcohol was a factor in the incident.

Holtzlander’s mug shot shows blood on his face. Adem said he did not retaliate. He said he saw that the suspect was still agitated while in the back of the police cruiser and thinks may have hit his head because he saw him acting violently.