Two alleged hate crimes against Sikhs in New York, a teen and a senior, within days of each other 

NYPD hate crime page. Photo:

In an Oct. 25, press release, the Sikh Coalition quoting news reports, demanded the NYPD fully investigate the death of  Jasmer Singh, 66, who was attacked following a car accident, by the driver of the other car, as he was trying to call the police to mediate the situation. He was beaten repeatedly and knocked to the ground, sustaining injuries, which the Sikh Coalition said contributed to his death.

In its letter to the NYPD, the Sikh Coalition said, “Given aspects of Mr. Singh’s visible identity as a Sikh man of South Asian descent and the severity of his injuries (which ultimately led to his passing), we believe it is critical for the NYPD to consider several questions … [W]e respectfully request that all potential factors, including bias, be considered throughout the investigation into Mr. Singh’s death. We also respectfully request that the results of that investigation be shared in a clear and timely manner with the Sikh community and general public. As a Sikh civil rights organization, we have seen time and time again the relationship between local communities and law enforcement damaged due to a lack of transparency around possibly hate-motivated crimes and other incidents.”

The Mayor of Hoboken, Ravi Singh Bhalla, a turban-wearing Sikh, released a statement October 22. condemning the recent rise in hate crime against Sikhs alluding to two cases.

“I am disturbed and saddened by the recent hate crimes that have shaken the Sikh community in Richmond Hill, New York, where one Sikh man was assaulted and an attempt was made to forcibly remove his turban, and another senior Sikh individual was subjected to a violent assault and died of his injuries,” Mayor Bhalla said.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams posted a photo of Jasmer Singh on Twitter, saying, “Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want our Sikh community to know you have more than our condolences. You have our sacred vow that we reject the hatred that took this innocent life and we will protect you.

Jasmer Singh, 66 year old who died apparently from wounds suffered in an attack considered a hate crime. PHOTO X @NYCMayor October 22, 2023

. . .

The second case was that of Christopher Philippeaux, 26, of Park Avenue in Manhattan, who was arraigned October 20, 2023, in Queens Criminal Court and charged with assault in the third degree as a hate crime and aggravated harassment in the second degree.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Oct. 21, that  Philippeaux was accused of taunting, punching and trying to knock off the traditional Sikh turban of a fellow bus passenger, a 19 year-old man who was wearing the turban and a mask.

“We will hold accountable those that would attack others based on their religion. Freedom of religion and expression are foundational principles of our democracy,” Katz is quoted saying in the press release relating to the attack on the bus, adding, “That is most true here in Queens, the World’s Borough, the most diverse county in the United States. Unprovoked attacks, especially ones motivated by hate, will not be tolerated.”

According to the charges:

  • On October 15, at approximately 9:00 a.m., Philippeaux and a 19-year-old man were passengers on an MTA bus in Richmond Hill. The teenager was wearing a medical-type mask and a turban—a head covering he wore as part of his religious practice as a Sikh.
  • Philippeaux approached the victim and yelled at him to remove his mask. He pushed the victim and punched him in the face.
  • Philippeaux punched the teenager in the back of the head, tried to knock off his turban and told him, in sum and substance, “We don’t wear that in this country.”
  • Philippeaux punched the victim multiple times in the back of his head and body. He then fled.
  • The victim received medical treatment for the injuries sustained during the assault, including facial swelling, bruises, substantial pain and bleeding from his nose.
  • Philippeaux was arrested Thursday, Oct. 19.

According to New York Post, the Sikh teen was attacked while on the MTA shuttle bus near 118th Street and Liberty Avenue in the Little Guyana area. The NYPD released surveillance image of Philippeaux wearing a yellow jacket, on Oct. 23, leading to his identification and arrest.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here