Although . Singh immediately reported the incident to the police, he delayed going public because he didn’t know how to do so until he contacted the Sikh Coalition. “I know that sharing my story sheds further light on the bigotry and hatred faced by communities across the nation,” said Singh. “These crimes cannot be tolerated."
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, the individual responsible is currently in custody with the Los Angeles Police Department on a different criminal case. Police say the suspect potentially faces only misdemeanor assault charges for attacking Mr. Singh. These charges fail to capture the violent nature of the attack, and the anti-Sikh bias that precipitated it. The Sikh Coalition’s legal team is working with the local sheriff’s department and the FBI to push for a hate crime investigation and prosecution.
“In the face of hateful rhetoric and the current climate of fear, we must ensure that all bias-based incidents are thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice,” said the Sikh Coalition’s senior staff attorney, Gurjot Kaur. “We cannot fight hate if law enforcement agencies ignore or fail to recognize hate crimes.”
The violence against Mr. Singh is another incident in a string of bias-based attacks against Sikhs across the country in recent months. Sikhs Americans, who have been living in California for 125 years, practice the fifth largest religion in the world. The articles of faith, including the beard and turban, represent equality and justice for all.
Since December in California, a gurdwara (Sikh house of worship) in Orange County was vandalized, a Sikh man in Fresno was hit by a truck and beaten, and a Sikh store clerk in Fresno was fatally stabbed. Over the last month, the Sikh Coalition has processed over three times the amount of legal intakes related to hate backlash than in previous years.