Three weeks after he was brutally assaulted in a hate crime, Maan Singh Khalsa saw the first rays of justice coming his way. On Friday, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged two men from Texas with felony assaults with hate crime enhancements.
The assault that had taken place on Friday, September 25 when the 41-year-old was returning home. Some men driving by first threw beer cans towards Mr Khalsa’s car. Then they charged towards him and assaulted him. They also cut off the unshorn hair that he is mandated to have as part of his Sikh faith. He also sustained injuries on his eyes, jaws and a pinky finger. He was left with damaged nerves, a black eye and a broken finger. In fact, his finger got infected afterwards and will need to be amputated.
Contra Costa County deputy district attorney Simon O’Connell said, “The savage cutting of Mr. Khalsa’s unshorn hair, a sacred article of his faith, constitutes a hate crime under the law.” The two accused were also fired from their jobs.
“The assailants violently targeted my Sikh faith. I am thankful to the Richmond Police Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson. He ensured that my attackers were charged with hate crimes.” said Mr. Khalsa. “The charges are the first step to addressing violence and bigotry, which plague communities across the United States.” He believes that every hate crime needs to be investigated, documented and prosecuted.
Sikh Coalition, Sikh community leaders and a coalition of civil rights organizations advocated on behalf of Mr Khalsa. They saw to it that the incident is properly investigated and prosecuted. “No community should be attacked because of their faith, ethnicity, gender or sexuality,” said Harsimran Kaur, legal director of the Sikh Coalition.