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The Lincoln Police Department is investigating an assault in southwest Lincoln on Wednesday night that investigators believe to be a hate crime.

The victim, a 17-year-old woman, was walking near South Coddington Avenue and West A Street just after 8 p.m. when two white men approached her, according to Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

They made derogatory comments and threats before knocking her on the ground and kicking her. The victim sustained cuts to her forearms and both sides of her face as well as bruising to her lower leg. She later sought treatment at a nearby hospital.

Bliemeister said the contents of the threats initiated procedures for investigating and processing hate crime reports. Hate crimes are considered to be motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity.

Social media reports Thursday indicated that the teen is Muslim. In response to those reportsm the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

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Police confirmed Friday that the teen is Muslim.

The two men have not been identified, and were seen by the victim just after 8 p.m. at South 17th and West Rose streets. One had a bicycle and the other had a skateboard.

"Our community, our agency will not tolerate hate crimes," Bliemeister said at a Thursday morning briefing.

Police are working to identify the two men through video recordings, canvassing the area and examining digital evidence.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to call police at 402-441-6000 or submit an anonymous tip to Lincoln Crimestoppers at 402-475-3600.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7214 or eclopton@journalstar.com.

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