The advocacy group, Sikh Coalition is demanding police arrest an Uber passenger who allegedly held a gun to a Sikh driver’s head demanding to know “which country do you belong to?” and telling him “I hate turban people” on Sunday, Jan. 28.
Gurjeet Singh, a father and husband living in Northwest Illinois, was the victim of the alleged attack, Sikh Coalition said in a press release. Singh serves as the head granthi at his local gurdwara. Singh notified police the next day, the organization says, adding, “In the nearly three weeks since, despite repeated outreach by the Sikh Coalition, the suspect remains free.” However, the Rock Island Sheriff’s Department has informed the Sikh Coalition that the investigation continues, but charges have not yet been submitted to the Rock Island State’s Attorney’s Office, the Sikh Coalition said.
“The fact that no arrest has been made and hate crime charges have not yet been filed endangers the safety of Mr. Singh and the Quad Cities Sikh community,” Sikh Coalition Legal Director, Amrith Kaur is quoted saying in the press release. “The facts of this case are clear. We expect the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Police Department to arrest Mr. Singh’s attacker, and the Rock Island County State’s Attorney’s Office to file hate crime charges immediately,” Kaur added.
“This never should have happened, and I want my community and family to feel safe,” Singh is quoted saying in the press release. “There must be justice for this hate crime. Authorities should arrest and charge the man who attacked me without further delays because bigotry has no place in our society,” Singh added.
According to the account provided by the Sikh Coalition – at 10:39 pm on Sunday Jan. 28, Singh picked up a “caucasian male and female” in the alley next to Casey’s Tavern in Moline, IL. Singh started driving south towards the passengers’ home when the male passenger began asking him questions: “What is your status here?” “Which country do you belong to?” “Do you serve our country or do you serve your country?” the press release says.
Singh, a legal U.S. resident who speaks limited English, the Sikh Coalition says, “was confused and scared by the questions but attempted to explain that he serves both countries because his parents still live in India. In response, the male passenger got visibly angry and put a gun to Mr. Singh’s head while saying, “I hate turban people; I hate beard people,”.”
Singh, according to the account provided, slammed on the brakes and the female passenger forcibly removed the male passenger from the vehicle. She then apologized for the male passenger’s behavior, and instructed Singh to drop her home and to avoid taking the same route back to eliminate another encounter with the male attacker.
“As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that this investigation is about as straightforward as it gets,” Kaur contended. “We know this man has a gun, hates people with turbans and beards, and threatened to take our client’s life. Thanks to Uber’s smartphone application we know his identity. Nobody deserves to experience hate violence, and he should be arrested immediately,” she said.