The Office of the Contra Costa County District Attorney has filed assault and hate crime charges against the men who allegedly attacked Maan Singh Khalsa last month in Richmond, California.
Based on NBC Bay Area, Chase Little and Dustin Micheal Albarado, both who were previously arrested, have already been charged with felony assault charges. Albrado will not be charged and has now been cleared of criminal culpability. Hate crime charges have been filed by prosecutors against Colton and Little Leblanc, who had formerly escaped but is also being charged with felony assault charges, the AP reports.
“It is clear that bias proved to be a large element in this savage assault,” Harsimran Kaur, legal director for The Sikh Coalition, told NBC News. “We cannot fight the problem of hate in our communities if we don’t understand it first, and District Attorney Peterson has taken a critical first step in doing that now.”
Khalsa, a Sikh-American information technology specialist, was driving home from work on September 25 when a beer can allegedly throw at his car, based on The Sikh Coalition. At a later intersection, three men assaulted Khalsa through his open car window and allegedly got out of the truck, knocking his turban off and striking his face. Yelling, “Cut his f—g hair,” the guys allegedly pulled his head from the window and cut a fistful of his hair with a knife. Khalsa suffered injuries to hands, teeth, finger, and his eye.
Khalsa believes he was targeted due to his turban, uncut hair, and beard, which he keeps as posts of his Sikh religion, which originated in India. Sikh Americans have been part of America for over 150 years, but are often mistaken for stereotypes of terrorists, particularly since the attacks of September 11, 2001
“The assailants violently targeted my Sikh religion. I’m grateful to the Richmond Police Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson for ensuring that my attackers were charged with hate crimes,” said Khalsa in a statement. “The charges are the initial step to addressing violence and bigotry, which plague communities over America.”