Pennsylvania man sentenced for 2016 hate crime on Indian-American

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A Bethel Park, Pennsylvania man has been sentenced for a Nov. 2016 attack on an Indian-American, after being charged in a hate crime.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania announced April 6, that Jeffrey Allen Burgess, 56, has been sentenced in federal court to three years’ probation for a 1996 attack on an Indian-American identified in news media as Ankur Mehta.

The sentence requires Burgess go through four months of home detention; continued alcohol treatment through Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., or as directed by the U.S. Probation Office; 50 hours of community service; full participation in a restorative justice program administered by Center for Victims; and restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court at a later date, on a charge of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge Nora Barry Fischer imposed the sentence on Burgess.

While the Justice Department did not disclose Ankur Mehta’s name, according to earlier news reports in cbslocal as well as other news outlets in November 2016, Burgess attacked Ankur Mehta, and broke his jaw at a South Hills Red Robin restaurant because he thought Mehta was an Arab.

The court documents state that “on or about November 22, 2016, (Burgess) violated the Hate Crimes Prevention Act by willfully causing bodily injury to A.M. because of A.M.’s actual and perceived race, color, and national origin,” the Justice Department press release says.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported online that Burgess apologized to Mehta on April 6, and that the sentence was part of a plea deal Burgess entered into with the U.S. Attorney’s Office when he pleaded guilty to the crime.

According to the Post-Gazette, Burgess was sitting at the next table at the Red Robin and began shouting expletives at the Indian-American, calling him a “sand n….r” while Mehta was wearing earphones and listening to music while playing on his computer tablet. Burgess is also reported to have said that since President Trump had become president, he no long had to “put up with you people,” the Post Gazette reported. The restaurant manager called 911 after Burgess punched Mehta and kept hitting him in the head, neck and throat, the news report said.