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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kent man sentenced for brutal cabbie attack

A 21-year-old Kent man will spend nine months in jail for brutally beating a cab driver while in a drunken rage last fall.

The defendent, Luis Vazquez, could have been sentenced to as much as 16 years in prison for the hate crime and other assault-related charges. But he didn't because that's what the victim wanted.

In court on Friday, Vazquez said he didn't know why he attacked the cab driver, [Sukhvir] Singh. He said the racial slurs and the brutual beating were the result of his over-consumption of alcohol.

"I'm really sorry, what I put you through and the emotions I put you through," Vazquez told the victim in court. "I'm really sad."

At the time of the incident, Vazquez was drunk and had just been kicked out of the Apple Cup at Husky Stadium. That's when he got inside [Sukhvir] Singh's cab.

While the cab was southbound on I-5, Vazquez began punching Singh in the head, calling him an 'Iraqi terrorist' and blaming him for 9-11. Images of the attack were caught on the cab's dashboard camera.

When Singh pulled over and tried to run away, Vazquez tackled him and kicked him repeatedly in the head.

Today, Vazquez asked for forgiveness - he got it, but with a life lesson from his victim. [Sukhvir] used an interpreter to help him say it.

"It should be known it's not good to have hate towards any humanity," Singh said in court.

Singh later said he knew he was being attacked because of the way he looks - he thinks his turban triggered the attack. But he's not Iraqi - he's Sikh.

"Sorry I'm making you look over your shoulder, and messed up your life," Vazquez told him.

Vazquez told the judge he didn't remember a thing about the attack. But Singh will never forget.

The judge also ordered Vazquez to pay for all of Singh's medical expenses. [Link]

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