In Texas, a Sikh man has filed an official complaint demanding that criminal charges be brought against individuals who falsely accused him of making a bomb threat and unlawfully restrained him on a bus.
Daljeet Singh, who wears a turban and beard in observance of his Sikh faith, was a passenger on a Greyhound bus traveling through Amarillo on February 21, 2016 when he was falsely accused by a fellow passenger of making a terroristic threat.
"The only crime I committed was wearing a turban, having a beard, and speaking in a different language to another brown man on a bus," said Mr. Singh. "I still cannot believe that this happened to me in America."
During the bus trip from Phoenix to Indianapolis, Mr. Singh met another Punjabi-speaking man, Mohammad Chotri from Pakistan, who invited Singh to sit with him. The two men were strangers and had never met before, but shared a dialect of Punjabi. Neither man could speak or understand English fluently.
Shortly after departing from Amarillo, the bus stopped on the side of the road. According to Mr. Singh, two passengers restrained him and prevented him moving or using his phone to call an English-speaking family remember. When authorities arrived, Mr. Singh was arrested, searched, made to remove his religious turban, handcuffed and detained.
Later, Mr. Singh found out that another passenger had complained to the bus driver and to the police that he and Mr. Chotri had made a terroristic threat and that they were "acting suspicious."
"Actually, she called it 'acting weird.'" Singh says.
As a result of these false accusations, Mr. Singh was arrested and detained for 30 hours. After being interviewed by an agent from the FBI (through a Punjabi language interpreter), he was cleared of all allegations of wrongdoing. The Potter County Attorney's Office also declined to press any charges.
Mr. Singh believes that the passenger who reported him to the police, Tianna Lynn Decamp, and the passengers who detained him, Anthony Lamar Lillie and Kelly Michael Morris, targeted him solely based on his race, his religious appearance -- namely his Sikh turban and beard -- and the fact that could not speak English. He believes their actions were not based on any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing on his part.
Read Mr. Singh's statement and full account of the incident here.
The Sikh Coalition, which is representing Mr. Singh, is calling on the Porter County Sheriff's Office and the Potter County Attorney's Office to file criminal charges against Decamp for knowingly reporting a false and baseless bomb threat. They are also requesting that criminal charges be filed against Lille and Morris for unlawfully restraining Mr. Singh on the bus.
According to the Sikh Coalition's complaint, "Ms. Decamp's defamatory allegations, which were evidently baseless and deprived Mr. Singh of his liberty, stripped him of his dignity, led to the violation of his religious rights, and caused him great humiliation and emotional harm."
Read The Sikh Coalition's full complaint here.
"I have suffered significant psychological and emotional harm, anxiety, sleeplessness, and distress as a result of the profiling, my arrest and detention, the removal of my turban, the subsequent media coverage, and the defamation of my name and character," Mr. Singh says.
"I was unfairly accused of being a terrorist and treated as a threat. I was made to take a mug shot without my religious turban, and this picture was circulated in the media, causing me deep humiliation and angst. I also feel afraid as a result of what happened. I was simply an innocent man trying to get home to my family on a Greyhound bus."
This is not safety. This is not security. This is bigotry. An innocent man was arrested, detained and publicly humiliated because some idiots on a bus to friggin' Indianapolis were uncomfortable with the way he looked. You want real safety and security? You want justice? Arrest and prosecute these ignorant fools.
More here: Sikh Demands Accountability After Texas Terror Accusation