New York Driver Charged with Hate Crimes in Fatal Beating of Sikh Man After Collision

Prosecutors say a New York City man accused of fatally assaulting a 66-year-old Sikh man after a car accident about two weeks ago was arraigned Tuesday on a number of charges, including hate crimes.

According to the office of Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz, the defendant, Gilbert Augustin, 30, of Queens, was driving in that borough on October 19 when Jasmer Singh collided with him.

During a post-crash argument between the two drivers, Augustin allegedly dubbed Singh, who wore a turban as part of his religious practise, “turban man,” prosecutors stated in a news release, citing a witness. According to reports, Augustin eventually punched Singh three times in the head and face, causing him to fall and strike his head on the concrete.

According to the news release, Singh received a brain damage and was brought to the hospital, where he died the next day.

Katz said in a news release, “This is a case of a fender bender that immediately leads to hateful language and then brutal, deadly violence.” “We will show in court that it was a rage inflamed by hate that led to this senseless tragedy.”

According to court records, Augustin pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 20 charges linked to the incident, including first-degree manslaughter as a hate crime and second-degree assault as a hate crime. According to an indictment filed in Queens County state court, the allegations also include reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting it, and operating a motor vehicle without a licence.

According to a New York Police Department official, the event was not immediately investigated as a hate crime.

“During a Queens district attorney’s grand jury, new information came to light that was not originally revealed to NYPD detectives,” a spokesperson for the police department said.

Augustin’s defence attorney, James Concemore Neville, described the case as “a very difficult one for all parties concerned.”

“I will say that it’s a very sad, tragic case, and that my job in this situation … is to protect Mr. Augustin’s rights – his constitutional rights,” Neville was quoted as saying by CNN.

Augustin is scheduled to appear in court again on December 6. According to the district attorney’s office, if convicted, he may face up to 25 years in jail.

 

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