In Bakersfield, California, hate crime charges have been filed against a man who allegedly accosted a Sikh man outside a restaurant last month, threatening to kill him and accusing him of "trying to blow up this country."
Hate crime charge filed in attack on Sikh man outside Bakersfield restaurant
According to the Kern County District Attorney office, 40-year-old David Hook approached Balmeet Singh outside a restaurant on September 30 and began cursing and yelling racial slurs at him. He told Singh, "You're trying to blow up this country. I should... kill you right now," before throwing a cup of soda on him.
Singh shared about the incident in a video posted to YouTube earlier this month:
Prosecutors say Hook targeted Singh, who wears a turban and unshorn beard in accordance with his faith, because of his race and religious appearance. Hook told police investigators he thought Singh was a Muslim. He claims he heard Singh, who was talking on a cell phone, "say something about a bomb."
Singh said he was on the phone wishing his 13-year-old cousin a happy birthday.
Asked why he didn't call 911 to report his concerns about the scary turbaned brown man, Hook told KBFX that he had a constitutional right to take direct action. "If you see something say something," he said. Idiotically.
Yes, I'm sure throwing that soft drink really helped in the fight against terrorism.
Hook has been charged with one count of interference with the exercise of a civil right -- a hate crime -- and one count of battery. If convicted, he could face up to one year in jail and a fine.
Perhaps the worst part? Singh said there were about ten people seated on the restaurant patio who witnessed the incident, but nobody stepped up to help. Instead, they looked away when he tried to meet their eyes.
Come on, people.
More here: Man charged with hate crime claims he was acting out of concern for country