indica News Bureau-
The Sikh community in America has applauded the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office’s decision that announced that Grifin Levi Sayers, who assaulted and abused a Sikh American Uber driver last week, was charged with a hate crime and assault in the second degree. It was reported earlier that Sayers berated and attempted to strangle the driver on the morning of Thursday, December 5 after calling him for rideshare services.
Amrith Kaur, Sikh Coalition Legal Director, said, ““We are grateful to the Bellingham Police Department for recognizing the clear influence of bias from the beginning of this case, and to the Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for reaching the right decision”, adding, “Acknowledging the role of targeted hatred in acts of violence is the first step in combating further such incidents, and taking hate crimes seriously and prosecuting them with the right tools is the surest way forward to making our communities safer.”
The Sikh Coalition applauded the prosecutor’s choice to charge Sayers with a hate crime under Washington law, for his racist comments regarding the Sikh drivers skin color, his turban, beard and Indian heritage and for physical assault.
The Sikh Uber driver requested anonymity as he recovers from his injuries and the trauma of the attack and was said to be relieved after hearing the prosecutor’s decision to charge Sayers with hate crime. Sayers was arrested after he tried to strangle the driver on December 5.
The assaulter will be indicted before the Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday at 9 AM. The Sikh community in Bellingham will be present at the arraignment to express their gratitude for the prompt action against the assaulter.
“Hate crimes are deeply traumatic for the individual, but they also send ripple effects through the entire community,” said Dr. Jasmit Singh, a Sikh community leader in the greater Seattle area. “A hate crime against one is an act of aggression against all–and likewise, the decision to prosecute this case represents a commitment to protecting all of Washington’s Sikh residents. We are grateful for that commitment.”
The Sikh Coalition’s monitoring of social media accounts since 2015, Washington ranks as the most dangerous state in the nation for Sikhs though the community has lived in the region for more than a century now. There are 15 Gurudwaras and around 75,000 Sikhs living in Washington. Since 2001, the Sikh Coalition has worked to provide free legal representation and counsel to Sikhs subject to violent physical and verbal assaults in hate crimes across the nation.