According to the New York-based Sikh Coalition, a Los Angeles bus driver, who was wearing a turban was attacked and called a suicide bomber this past November, ending up in the hospital. Police, the Sikh advocacy group said, should investigate the assault as a hate crime.
The male passenger paid his fare, but then started shouting at Singh, calling him a “terrorist” and “suicide bomber” and accusing him of hijacking the bus, the coalition said.
When Singh dropped the passenger off at Crenshaw and Manchester boulevards, the passenger came back onto the bus and began pummeling him in the face.
Throughout the attack, Singh kept his foot on the brake of the running bus, which had 20 to 25 passengers on board, the coalition said. Once the suspect left, a passenger called the police and Singh was taken to the hospital.
“Psychologically and physically, it was traumatic,” Gurjot Kaur, Singh’s lawyer, said. “It’s very frightening to be attacked in that way.” The name of the assailant has not been released.
According to the Associated Press, the 33-year-old attacker, who has not been named, was arrested on an assault charge the following day. Initially, the incident was not investigated as a hate crime. “We cannot fight hate if law enforcement agencies ignore or fail to recognize hate crimes,” Kaur said.
However, Sheriff’s Captain Karl Schow told the AP that police are now investigating the allegations. “We do investigate hate crimes. We take them very seriously,” he said. “We’re absolutely doubling back and going to add that to the investigation.”