Iowa man wearing a surgical mask said he attacked an African American because 'he's allergic to black people' Andy Benavidez, 47, (pictured) attacked an African American man because of his race An Iowa City man who wore a surgical mask because he said he was 'allergic to black people' has been charged after starting a fight with a man simply because of his race. Andy Benavidez attacked an African American man, Sunday, the victim has claimed. Police responded to a report of two men fighting at a public location in Iowa City, Iowa, reported CBS2. The victim told police that Benavidez, 47, called him racial slurs and then attacked him forcefully. He was then forced to fight back in 'self-defense'. Benavidez told police he was wearing a surgical mask because he said he was 'allergic to black people' and 'didn't want to catch their germs'. Benavidez also told police that he only fought the victim because he was black. He has been charged with Assault - Violation of Individual Rights, which is considered a hate crime. DailyMail.com contacted Iowa police for further information about the crime but the attending officer was not immediately available for comment.