In yet another incident of racism in the United States, an Oregon man has been charged with hate crime, assault and other charges after he is said to have attacked a Sikh shopkeeper on January 14.
Andrew Ramsey from Salem had reportedly gone to the convenience store to purchase cigarette rolling paper. The altercation took place when store clerk Harwinder Singh Dodd refused to sell him the product without checking his identity documents.
The 24-year-old is then said to have assaulted Dodd and eyewitnesses have said that Ramsey was quite violent.
Justin Brecht, a former marine who was at the store at the time of the incident said that Dodd asked Ramsey to leave if he could not provide his ID papers. However, the man refused to leave and instead began punching and pulling the Sikh man's beard.
Ramsey then threw Dodd on the ground and reportedly started kicking him. "We were really worried, I mean he could have really injured the store owner. He was beating him pretty good," the Associated Press quoted Brecht as telling Fox 12 News.
"He was bleeding, he had gotten punched quite a bit in the face, and kicked on the ground and thrown to the ground very brutally. It was very serious."
The police said that Ramsey also threw his shoe at Dodd and tried to take away his turban.
It is believed that the attack was also over the store clerk's religion. "We believe it (the attack) had to do with the worker's ethnic background and possible religious beliefs," KATU 2, a local TV network quoted Lt. Treven Upkes of the Salem Police Department as saying.
As per an FBI data, hate crimes in Oregon have increased 40 percent in 2017, as compared to 2016.
Sikhs have increasingly witnessed racial attacks in the US and in August 2018, a 71-year-old Sikh man was beaten and spat upon in an unprovoked attack that was caught on video. In the footage, two assailants were seen confronting the victim, who was wearing a turban and walking alone on a sidewalk. The duo was seen kicking the man and knocking him to the ground, before robbing him and spitting on him.
The same year, Gurjeet Singh, a Sikh driver, was allegedly attacked and abused by a gun-wielding passenger in Illinois. The attacker reportedly grilled Singh on his nationality, name and immigration status. "He put a gun to my head and said he doesn't like turbans," Singh later told India-west.