New York City Mayor Eric Adams has promised to protect the Sikh community following the death of a senior member last week.
What happened: The deceased, identified as 66-year-old Jasmer Singh, was driving his wife from a doctor’s appointment when he collided with another vehicle on the Van Wyck Expressway on Thursday. A physical altercation ensued after the second driver, identified as 30-year-old Gilbert Augustin, allegedly exited his vehicle and grabbed Singh’s phone.
Singh got out of his own car to retrieve his phone. After an argument, Augustin allegedly punched him in the head and face three times.
The aftermath: Singh, who fell and hit the ground, suffered a broken skull and lost two of his front teeth. He was rushed to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he succumbed to a brain injury the next day, as per the New York Post.
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Charges: Augustin has been arrested and charged with manslaughter, assault, aggravated unlicensed operator and leaving the scene of an accident. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
What his family is saying: Singh’s family is calling for hate crime charges against Augustin. They believe his appearance contributed to the violence.
“The guy was addressing my father with his costumes, with his turbans. There was no reason for someone to go in that intensity. My father was targeted and it is a possible hate crime," Singh’s son, Multani, told CBS New York.
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What Adams is saying: In an X post on Sunday, Mayor Eric Adams condemned the incident and honored Singh’s memory. He also vowed to protect the Sikh community.
“Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want our Sikh community to know you have more than our condolences. You have our sacred vow that we reject the hatred that took this innocent life and we will protect you.”
Adams added that his team will meet Sikh leaders this week to discuss the community’s needs.
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