SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — A Sikh civil rights organization is calling for hate crime charges against two refinery workers accused of attacking a 41-year-old Sikh man and cutting off his religiously mandated unshorn hair at a Richmond intersection.
Chase Little, 31, of Beaumont, Texas, and Dustin Albarado, 25, of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, were in the Bay Area for contract work on Sept. 25 when they and a third unidentified man reportedly assaulted Richmond resident Maan Singh Khalsa with their fists and a knife.
“Cut his hair,” his attackers yelled before Little cut off a fistful of Khalsa’s hair with a pocket knife, making numerous cuts to Khalsa’s hands and fingers as the victim tried to defend himself, according to The Sikh Coalition. His pinky finger may have to be amputated because of a cut that later got infected. He also suffered facial lacerations, a black eye and dental damage that has cost him $2,200 thus far.
“We believe that Mr. Khalsa was targeted and assaulted because of his actual or perceived race/ethnicity, religion and nationality, given that the attack was unprovoked and the assailants intentionally targeted his articles of faith when they knocked off his turban and deliberately cut his unshorn hair with a knife,” attorneys from The Sikh Coalition wrote in a letter submitted Friday to the Richmond Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutor Simon O’Connell said he is still reviewing the case file and is considering hate crime charges, and expects to make a filing by next week after he meets with Khalsa in person.
Khalsa is a U.S. citizen who works in IT for the Social Security Administration and as an elderly care provider. He is the father of an 8-year-old girl and has lived in Richmond for about seven years.
According to records from the DA’s office and the Sikh Coalition, the 9 p.m. incident on Sept. 25 started with Little, Albarado and two to four other white men drinking and driving around in a white Ford F-150 truck. One of them threw a beer can at Khalsa’s car as they stopped at an intersection on Hilltop Mall Drive.
O’Connell said that Khasla opened his door to get the beer can, when the men began to curse at him. One exited the truck and started toward Khalsa before he drove away and called 911 to report the men who appeared to be after him.
At the next stoplight, Little, Albarado and another man exited the truck and attacked him through his open window before he was able to drive off.
The driver of the truck fled the scene and left the three by an Interstate 80 on-ramp, O’Connell said. Little and Albarado were arrested shortly afterward when they were pointed out to a patrol deputy by a witness to the assault, he said.
They were arrested on suspicion of felony assault and were released on bail.
“Mr. Khalsa’ trauma is shared by the Sikh community, which is keenly following the investigation and prosecution of his attackers with the hope that justice will ultimately be served,” The Sikh Coalition letter reads.