New York City’s Sikh community is asking authorities to investigate the recent attack of a Sikh man as a hate crime.
Sandeep Singh, 29, was crossing a street with friends in Queens, New York, last week when a man in a pick-up truck began yelling at them. The driver exited his car and exchanged words with Singh, a married father of two. According to witnesses, the driver called Singh a terrorist, and told him to go back to his country.
The driver returned to his vehicle and Singh stood in front of it in protest. That’s when the driver ran him over–dragging Singh about 30 feet. Surveillance cameras caught the attack. Singh remains in the hospital and his attacker remains at large.
Singh has issued a statement through the Sikh Coalition that explains that the attack was motivated by hate: “I was attacked because I am a Sikh and because I look like a Sikh. Justice should be served so that no one else goes through what I have been through. We need to create a world without hate.”
According to the Village Voice, the Department of Justice requested that the local police commander meet Sikh leaders on Monday to discuss the Singh attack, as well as other issues facing the community:
In addition to hate crimes, Sikh leaders cited experiences being robbed, mugged or physically attacked that they feel have not been adequately investigated by local police.
“There’s a sense that there is a real apathy in the 102 [precinct] in Richmond Hill, as it applies to this community,” Singh says.
That feeling is compounded by the fact, that the NYPD–unlike police forces in London, Toronto and Washington D.C.–prohibits officers from wearing turbans, a rule that prevents observant Sikhs from serving in the police force.
The Sikh Coalition is pressing for the investigation to dig deeper and find Singh’s attacker.