(H/T Angry Asian Man)
Sandeep Singh, a 29-year-old father of two, was nearly killed in an alleged racially-motivated hit-and-run incident last Tuesday night in Ozone Park, Queens. Singh was standing outside of his 99th street office building having just had dinner at a nearby restaurant with his friend Baldey Singh, when the driver of a white pick-up truck slowed down and yelled a racial slur at the two South Asian American Sikh men. According to Singh, who told his story to the Sikh Coalition:
[T]he driver… used racial and religious slurs against Sandeep, calling him a “terrorist” and telling him to “go back to your country.”
What happened next was captured by a series of surveillance cameras and it is horrifying; video after the jump.
Angered by the completely unprovoked use of racial slurs, Sandeep Singh hit the truck with his hand as it rolled past (and really, who could blame him?). The pick-up truck stopped in the street and the driver emerged holding something in his hand. Baldey Singh is quoted as saying that both Sikh American men were “concerned, afraid, and felt threatened” by the driver’s aggressive behaviour.
Following a heated exchange and possibly a physical altercation (as evidenced by some shoving in the surveillance video), the driver got back in his pick-up truck. Singh stepped in front of the truck to try and stop the driver from leaving; he wanted the man to wait while they called police.
That’s when the pick-up truck driver accelerated, slamming into Singh with the hood of his truck. Singh was dragged under the truck thirty feet along 101st street, before becoming dislodged. At no point did the pick-up truck driver slow down, and when Singh’s body came loose, the truck kept on driving as if nothing had happened. As Baldey Singh and a good samaritan named Tony rushed up to help him, Sandeep Singh was covered in blood and witnesses say he said “I can’t breathe”.
By the time Singh was taken to hospital, he was suffering numerous cuts and was listed in critical condition. Singh is now recovering and said this about his attack:
“I am in a great deal of pain, but I will survive,” said Sandeep Singh, in a statement. “I was attacked because I am a Sikh and because I look like a Sikh. Justice should be served so that no one else goes through what I have been through. We need to create a world without hate.”
The Sikh Coalition is currently working with law enforcement to have the crime investigated as a hate crime. Meanwhile, law enforcement are still seeking the identity of the pick-up truck’s driver. If you know anything, please contact Queens law enforcement.
This incident is the latest in a long string of anti-Sikh, anti-South Asian, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States dating since before 9/11, and coincident with rising Islamophobic hate-mongering rhetoric in contemporary politics. After 9/11, these sorts of hate crimes rose by a dramatic 1600%, and in Queens, three out of every four Sikh boy in the New York City Public Schools system reports being bullied for their racial and religious affiliation. Today is the 2nd anniversary of the Oak Creek massacre, a hate-motivated mass shooting at a Sikh temple that claimed the lives of 6 Sikh American men, and wounded four others. This is intolerable.
Concerned community members are invited to attend this rally on behalf of Sandeep Singh happening at 10:30am this morning at the corner of 99th St and 101st Ave. in Queens, NY where the attack took place, or to follow The Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) and tweet their support to #Justice4Sandeep.