Sikh Coalition and California Sikh Council Work Jointly to Have Kirpan Charge Dropped in Los Angeles
(Los Angeles, California) Prosecutors in Los Angeles, California have decided to drop criminal charges against Baldev Singh a Sikh who was issued a criminal citation for carrying his kirpan last month. The charges were dismissed as a result of a collaborative effort between the California Sikh Council and the Sikh Coalition. The Coalition has now successfully defended eighteen Sikhs from criminal prosecution for carrying the kirpan.
Baldev Singh, a resident of Los Angeles, was parking near a local immigration office on November 15, 2004, when a General Services Administration (GSA) police officer told him to not park in the place he had chosen to park. Instead the officer asked that Baldev Singh follow his car. The officer lead Baldev Singh to a local police station where he was arrested for a moving violation. The General Services Administration is a federal agency that obtains the buildings, products, technology, and other workplace essentials federal agencies require.
A group of police officers then questioned Baldev Singh, a naturalized United States citizen, for over four hours on everything he had one in the United States since he arrived here in 1992. He was then arrested and charged with carrying a weapon for wearing his kirpan. After spending the night in jail and posting bail, he was released around noon the next day.
Baldev Singh contacted the Sikh Coalition for assistance. The Coalition’s Legal Director prepared a letter to the Los Angeles District Attorney. The Coalition also decided to coordinate its response with members of the California Sikh Council, a very active local Sikh organization with members in Los Angeles. Nirinjan Singh Khalsa, a member of the Council, contacted representatives of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office to request that the kirpan charges be dismissed. After its discussion with Nirijan Singh, the district attorney’s office decided to drop the charges.
The California Sikh Council and the Coalition will be following up with General Service Administration officers to provide training on Sikhs and Sikhism. The Coalition thanks the California Sikh Council for its assistance in this matter.
We urge all Sikhs to practice their faith fearlessly. If someone tells you to remove your articles of faith, please report the incident online at www.sikhcoalition.org/ListReports.asp.
Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!