NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City politicians stood in solidarity Friday with a Sikh cab driver who claims he was attacked in a possible hate crime last weekend.
“We have your back, Queens always will have your back,” Queens borough president Melinda Katz said.
Authorities say Harkirat Singh, 25, was attacked after driving a group of people to the Bronx on April 16.
Singh said he had the passengers plug their Bronx destination into the GPS on his phone, but when they arrived at the location, Singh claims the passengers — three men and one woman — got hostile, saying he took them to the wrong place.
Police say one of the men tried to smash the taxi meter and then pulled off Singh’s turban, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“By removing Mr. Singh’s turban, a holy garment, the assailant targeted his religion, as well as his identity,” assembly member David Werpin said.
Harkirat was devastated.
“That time I was crying, you know, this happened to me first time in my life, you know, I was crying that time, I didn’t do nothing, you know,” Harkirat said.
Religious leaders called it a crime of ignorance.
“Taking away your turban is considered the worst kind of insult to the Sikh, and then taking and walking away with it, it’s like killing the person,” Harpeet Singh Toor, The Sikh Cultural Society, explained earlier this week.
According to Harkirat, the man was with a woman and two other men in their 20s.
Police said they have the credit card information of the female passenger allegedly involved.