Sikh Man Brutally Beaten in Richmond; Bay Area Organization Urges Police to Investigate Incident as Hate Crime

The Sikh Coalition released these images of Maan Singh Khalsa who was brutally beaten in Richmond on Sept. 25, 2016.

The Sikh Coalition released these images of Maan Singh Khalsa who was brutally beaten in Richmond on Sept. 25, 2016.

A Sikh organization in the Bay Area is urging the Richmond Police Department to investigate the brutal beating of a Sikh American by a group of men as a hate crime.

The Sikh Coalition, which also has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. believes Maan Singh Khalsa, 41, was targeted because of his religious identity and appearance.

The organization wrote a letter to the Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office demanding action.

Khalsa, 41, was stopped at a red light while heading home from his second job on Sept. 25, when a man in a white truck threw a beer can at him, the letter details.

Khalsa rolled down his window to question the man, when the man and others with him began to curse at him.

One man then got out of the truck and walked toward Khalsa, who drove away as the light turned green.

In fear for his safety, Khalsa called 911 while driving and at the next light the truck stopped next to his car again. Three men got out and began attacking him through his car window, which was rolled down, the letter details.

The men knocked off is turban and hit his face repeatedly. They then pulled his head out of the window by his hair and cut a fistful of his religiously mandated unshorn hair with a knife.

“Cut his f*****g hair,” they shouted, according to the organization.

Again, Khalsa was able to drive away and was apparently still on the phone with the 911 operator, who told him to wait for police at a nearby gas station.

First responders arrived about 30 minutes later to interview him, but the Sikh Coalition said they appeared “dubious” about the discrimination claim.

He was taken to the emergency room and as a result, Khalsa suffered cuts on his fingers and hands that required stitches, a swollen black eye and damage to his teeth that will require a root canal. One of his fingers has become infected and may need to be amputated.

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the crime, according to the organization.

“We appreciate the department’s quick response in securing these initial arrests. However, the suspects have not yet been charged with assault-based felonies eligible for a hate crime enhancement, and the third assailant and two remaining accomplices have yet to be apprehended,” the letter reads.

Khalsa, who has an 8-year-old daughter, is also urging the department to act.

“I urge a thorough investigation so we can address the tide of violence and bigotry in this country,” he said in a statement.