The trial of five men accused of savagely beating Rajinder Singh Khalsa continued this week [see yesterday's coverage here].
Gurcharan Singh, Khalsa's cousin, identified the five men charged with verbally harassing and assaulting Khalsa.
According to Singh's testimony, on the day of the incident, he was in a car with Khalsa, Khalsa's friend, and the friend's son "when one of the defendants, Ryan Meehan, yelled, 'Give me my curtain.'" Singh told the presiding judge, Justice Seymour Rotker, that he asked Meehan, "What do you mean, 'Give me my curtain?'"
Moments later, according to Singh's testimony, another defendant, Terence Lyons, said "You still here?.... Go to your home. Go to your country." To which Singh replied, "[T]his is my country. This is my home, too." From there, noted Singh, the defendants started punching him and then began assaulting Khalsa, "who was beaten into unconsciousness."
The defense is arguing:
- [T]he Sikh men were responsible for escalating the situation into a fight. For example, before the first punch was thrown, Singh refused to allow [two of the defendants] to leave the area because he had called 911.
- The attorneys also contend that their clients had no hateful intent during the incident.
In other words, the defense is arguing that 1) one man, Singh, was able to stop two men from leaving an area, the same two men who assaulted Singh and helped beat Khalsa into a state of unconsciousness, and 2) the same men who engaged in religious and ethnic harassment by uttering derogatory remarks about Singh and Khalsa's turbans, and also about their status as immigrants, had no "hateful intent"? Indeed, from the testimony it appears as if the hate speech is what instigated the entire incident itself.
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