Story at a glance
- Douglas allegedly attacked 70-year-old Nirmal Singh, who was visiting the U.S. from India and dressed in traditional Sikh clothing, around 6:45 a.m. April 3.
- Singh was taken to Jamaica Hospital to be treated for his injuries.
- Authorities reportedly arrested Hezekiah Coleman in connection with separate attacks on two Sikh men April 12.
A 19-year-old was arrested and charged with a hate crime on Thursday in connection to an attack on an elderly Sikh man earlier this month.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) arrested Vernon Douglas on charges of hate crime assault, robbery and aggravated harassment.
Douglas allegedly attacked 70-year-old Nirmal Singh, who was visiting the U.S. from India and dressed in traditional Sikh clothing, around 6:45 a.m. April 3. Singh was taken to Jamaica Hospital at the time to be treated for his injuries.
The New York Sikh Coalition said in a statement that Singh returned to India after the attack.
“My father is very grateful that his attacker has been identified and arrested so that he cannot harm others,” said Singh’s son Manjit in a statement. “Our family sees this sad incident as an assault not just on him, but on all who wear turbans and other articles of faith.
“Successfully investigating and prosecuting this as a hate crime should send a clear message: All of our elders–regardless of religion, race, or any other characteristic–deserve to be able to walk the streets without fear.”
Authorities reportedly arrested Hezekiah Coleman in connection with separate attacks on two Sikh men April 12. The attacks occurred near the same site Douglas allegedly assaulted Singh.
FBI hate crime data shows there were 7,759 reported criminal incidents of hate crimes in 2020 and 10,532 offenses related to race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. There were 94 reports of anti-Sikh hate crimes the same year.
Changing America has reached out to the NYPD for comment.
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