The police are investigating an attack on a Columbia University professor as a possible hate crime. Prabhjot Singh, an assistant professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, said he was walking in East Harlem when he was assaulted by more than a dozen teens on bicycles, reported NBC News (9.23.13). If what was reportedly said was said, this would be considered a hate crime, said David Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s civil rights violation law firms.
Singh said the teens shouted slurs when confronting and attacking him, said NBC News.
Singh, who is a Sikh, said he “heard ‘Get Osama’ and then ‘terrorists.’” Then he felt someone “moving past” him, ripping at his beard and hitting him in the face,” reported NBC News. The attack continued even after Singh tried to run away. He believes he could have died if others hadn’t intervened to stop the attack. Singh was left with a fractured jaw
“It was a bias-related event,” said Singh, according to NBC News.
“This is a sad reminder of the persistence of prejudice,” said Perecman.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were 1,480 victims of racially motivated hate crimes in 2011, which accounted for less than 20 percent of total hate crimes. The FBI was not formally tracking hate crimes against Sikhs at the time of this last hate-crime statistics report. Specific hate-crime statistics for this community, however, will start being tracked by 2015.
The NBC News article cited is “Sikh Columbia Professor Attacked by Teens in Possible Hate Crime: Officials.”
Individuals who believe they have been victims of a New York civil rights violation including hate crimes can contact The Perecman Firm today.