On Sunday, April 2, a grocery store clerk in Warren, Michigan, 20 miles north of Detroit, was shocked to catch a 4-pound herring—upside the head. An angry customer, who is now facing charges, attacked the attendant because the market’s fish counter had closed early in observance of Ramadan.
“Warren Police hooked and netted a suspect in connection with [the] altercation,” the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release published on April 5. “The victim was transported to the hospital.”
According to the report, the suspect, a 60-year-old man identified as MD Jobul Hussain, approached the Desi Fruit Market fish counter at 7:13 p.m local time on Sunday evening, only to find that the clerk had closed up shop at 7. After complaining, he allegedly picked up a 4-pound frozen hilsa—a type of Asian freshwater herring—and struck the fishmonger over the head with it.
Hussain was charged with one count of aggravated assault (with a fish), a misdemeanor for which he could potentially serve up to one year in jail. He was arraigned in Warren District Court on Monday and has since posted a $5,000 personal bond, which, incidentally, could purchase 333 pounds of hilsa at the Desi Fruit Market (if purchased before 7 p.m. on holidays). With payment of the bond, Hussein has officially been caught and released, at least until his next court date, which is set for April 27.
Hilsa, the national fish of Bangladesh, can grow to 6 ½ pounds. They are also known as ilishi, hilsa herring, hilsa shad, or ilish. In Bangladesh, the fish is commonly prepared with olive oil and curry spices and served over rice for breakfast during celebratory occasions.
“I never thought I’d have to say this, but if you assault someone with a fish in our county you will be prosecuted,” said Macomb County Prosecutor Peter Lucido. “A frozen fish is dangerous if you use it to hit someone on the head.”