Air Force officer found guilty for 2016 beating of a Sikh wearing a turban in D.C.

A jury found an Air Force officer guilty of aggravated assault with a hate-crime enhancement for beating an Indian immigrant man near Dupont Circle two years ago, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced Friday.

The jury found 26-year-old Dylan Millhausen guilty Thursday and added the bias-related enhancement because the victim was targeted for race, religion or national origin, according to a news release. The victim, an adherent to the Sikh religion, was wearing a turban. Millhausen will be sentenced Nov. 30.

The victim, Mehtab Singh Bakhshi, according to court records, was standing, talking with friends in the 1200 block of Connecticut Avenue at about 2:45 a.m. Aug. 21, 2016, when Millhausen came up behind him, pulled off Bakhshi’s turban and punched him in the face until he was unconscious. The attack required medical treatment, according to the release.

Sikhism is a religion originating in India. Its male adherents typically wear a turban as an article of faith. Sikhs in the United States have frequently been targeted for verbal and physical attacks, including a 2012 shooting at a temple in Wisconsin that left six dead. The attackers sometimes confuse Sikhs with Muslims.

Millhausen was apprehended by D.C. police and told them he likened the victim to Islamic extremists responsible for terrorist attacks, according to court records. Millhausen, at the time an Air Force officer stationed at Fort Meade, told officers that he was acting in self defense, and that the victim had “swung at him.” His account was in direct contrast of statements by the victim and witnesses, the court records show.

Millhausen was also tried in military court on unrelated charges, federal prosecutors said. He was sentenced for incarceraton on those charges, as well.

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