November 29, 2010: Earlier today, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) called on local authorities and the FBI to initiate a hate crime investigation into a vicious attack on a Sikh American cab driver in Sacramento, who was allegedly called Osama bin Laden as he was attacked. Early yesterday morning, 56-year-old Harbhajan Singh, a cab driver in Sacramento, CA, was brutally assaulted after picking up passengers at a local restaurant. Singh believes, if he had not gotten away, the two men who attacked him would have killed him.
Mr. Singh picked up the passengers, two men and two women, in Midtown Sacramento. Upon informing Mr. Singh that they wanted to change their destination, the male passengers began to attack Singh and demanded his money. Even after giving them his money, they continued to attack him, leading Singh to believe the attack was motivated by his dastaar (Sikh turban). One of the attackers shouted expletives and called him Osama bin Laden.
One of the female passengers put herself in between the attackers and Singh to protect him, which allowed Singh to get away. Singh banged on the doors of an apartment complex until he found someone to call 9-1-1. Singh received several stitches on his head and other parts of his body and sustained bruising along his rib cage and bone chips in his nose. The attackers and the female passengers disappeared.
“Attacks on innocent individuals are always inexcusable, but the use of racial, ethnic and religious slurs are especially heinous and have no place in our society,” said SALDEF Associate Executive Director Jasjit Singh. “We call upon the West Sacramento Police Department and the FBI to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted and that hate crimes charges are brought against any culprits that are found.”
SALDEF urges all Sikh Americans to immediately report any incidents of harassment, bullying or assault to SALDEF and your local authorities. If you or someone you know has been a victim of any racially motivated crime, please contact SALDEF directly toll free at 1.877.91SIKHS or via our Report an Incident Form at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5227/signUp.jsp?key=1739.