On July 11, 2004, Rajinder Singh Khalsa [pictured] was the victim of a senseless and brutal beating [see previous posts here and here]. He was met with a barrage of insults, physically assaulted, and left for dead as he lay unconscious. The perpetrators fractured his left eye socket and broke his nose; they continued to kick his body while he was unconscious. Before attacking Khalsa, the perpetrators remarked, in reference to Khalsa's turban, "Look, somebody stole my curtains" and "Why did you steal my sheets from my house?"
In July of this year, Khalsa filed a civil suit against the five men charged in the assault. He noted then, "People should know that Sikhs will not suffer in silence.... I hope for justice not only for myself, but all hate-crime victims."
On Monday, the trial began at the State Supreme Court. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Parke said in her opening statement, "It was a truly vicious, despicable act of hate." The defense is arguing that "the Sikh men were solely responsible for escalating the situation into a near melee" (emphasis added).
The defendants are Salvatore Maceli, 27, his brother, Nicholas Maceli, 23, and their stepfather, Victor Consentino, 60, Terence Lyons, 54, and Ryan Meehan, 25. They are charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree assault and second-degree harassment. The five face up to 15 years in prison.
We will follow the trial closely as more information becomes available...
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