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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sikh's Turban Torn from His Head in Hate Assault

Coalition Confirms that Assailants are Being Charged with Hate Crimes

A Sikh's turban was torn from his head in a vicious hate assault at a truck stop in Oakland, Oregon. The Sikh Coalition has communicated with both the county Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's office, and has confirmed that the three assailants were arrested and are being charged with hate crimes.

The Hate Assault
On August 5, 2007, Ranjit Singh was leaving a convenience store at a truck stop in Oakland, Oregon. As he was leaving the store, three men approached him and tore off his turban. The assailants immediately drove away in two separate cars.

Ranjit Singh called the police right away. The police arrived and were able to view the store's surveillance video. The footage showed the men stalking Ranjit Singh in the store and planning the assault. An employee of the store recognized one of the assailants as a former store employee, and related that he had assaulted another Sikh in the same manner at the truck stop a week prior. However, the first victim does not appear to have reported the incident to the police.

Ranjit Singh Contacts the Sikh Coalition
Several days after the incident, Ranjit Singh contacted the Sikh Coalition. Since August, the Coalition has communicated with staff of both the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office to ensure that Ranjit Singh's attackers are brought to justice and to ensure that the hate element of the attack is understood. .

On September 6, 2007. the Sheriff's Office arrested three men in connection with the assault. The Coalition confirmed last week that the District Attorney's Office is pursuing felony hate crime charges against the three men. We will continue to work with the District Attorney's office to ensure that the attack against Ranjit Singh is prosecuted as a hate crime.

The Coalition commends Ranjit Singh for standing up for his rights. The Coalition also commends the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for its prompt investigation of this matter, and the District Attorney's Office for its efforts to fully prosecute the men under Oregon's hate crimes law. [Sikh Coalition Press Release]

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