HOUSTON: An Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver has been assaulted and racially abused in the US state of Washington in a suspected hate crime here, according to media reports.
Grifin Levi Sayers, 22, verbally and physically abused his Sikh Uber driver on December 5 in Bellingham city, The Bellingham Herald quoted the police as saying.
While strangling the Sikh man, Sayers made “racially biased comments about the victim’s dark skin, the fact he was from India and the turban he was wearing”, police officer Claudia Murphy told the newspaper.
After a struggle, the driver, who was not identified, managed to escape from his car, left the rider inside and called 911 for help, the Komo News said.
The driver told the police that he believes his race promoted the attack. Prosecutors are trying to determine if the attacker should face hate crime charges, Bellingham Police said.
Police found Sayers in his apartment’s porch and arrested him, the report said.
Bellingham Police charged Sayers on suspicion of second-degree assault and with failure-to-appear warrant, The Bellingham Herald reported.
Sayers was released on December 6 on USD 13,000 bail.
The driver told the police that he was booked for Sayers’ duty on December 5 evening. He took Sayers for buying some fast food and cigarettes after which he was attacked.
“This assault is being investigated as a bias incident, as Sayers maliciously and intentionally assaulted the victim because of Sayers’ perception of the victim’s race, national origin and religion,” Murphy told the newspaper.
The driver has retained non-profit organisation Sikh Coalition for pro bono legal assistance.
Meanwhile Uber in an official statement to KOMO News said, “Violence and discrimination have no place in the Uber community. What’s been reported is unacceptable and we immediately removed the rider’s access to the platform.” PTI