October 2004 – Amric Singh on the Police Beat! Sikh Police Officer Begins Working for NYPD

Three years after he was fired by the New York City Department (NYPD), Amric Singh began working for the NYPD during second week of October. Amric is directing traffic near the busy Manhattan Bridge entrance leading into Brooklyn.

Amric reports that he is thrilled to be on the force and that his new colleagues at the NYPD are treating him well. He says that he already feels a sense of community with his fellow officers. He looks forward to a long career, serving the city in which he was born and raised.

A Citizen Fights for His Civil Rights after 9/11: Amric Singh Rathour

June 2004 – New York Attorney General Sides With the Sikh Community

New York, New York (June 8, 2004) – In coordination with the Sikh Coalition, the New York State Attorney General’s office will assist Amric Singh in his lawsuit against the NYPD. The Sikh Coalition met with Attorney General’s office last week to discuss and confirm its participation in the matter.

The New York Times first published news (article | pdf ) of the Attorney General’s intervention this past Saturday. Speaking to the Times, Avi Schick, Deputy Counsel to Attorney General Elliot Spitzer, said “We’ve learned enough about the facts so far to be disturbed. We will take steps here to protect the law and the rights of workers.” Mr. Schick stated that the Attorney General’s involvement could take the form of a letter to the court, a legal brief or a meeting with city officials.

The Attorney General’s decision to side with the Sikh community is a significant development in the case. The Sikh Coalition looks forward to working with the Attorney General to ensure Sikhs enjoy equal rights in the workplace.

Send Attorney General Spitzer a message of thanks

February , 2004 – Coalition Files For Summary Judgement

The Sikh Coalition filed a summary judgment motion in its lawsuit against the New York City Police Department over its “no turbans” policy.

A summary judgment motion requests a judge to decide the matter on the basis of written submissions without going to trial. If the motion is not decided in the Amric Singh’s favor, he still retains the option of having the matter decided by a judge after a trial.

The motion, totaling more than one hundred and fifty-five pages consists of legal argument, affidavits from Sikh police officers around the world, and documentary evidence of the events leading up to Amric Singh’s termination. It was prepared by the law firm the Coalition has retained for this matter.

The NYPD must respond to the Coalition’s and Amric Singh’s motion by June. Once the NYPD has had an opportunity to respond to the motion and the Coalition has an opportunity to counter-respond, the judge will make a decision. It is anticipated that this process will last at least a few months.

The Coalition would like to thank the Sikh sangat around the world for their support. The motion is the product of the efforts of Sikhs around the world. It includes written petitions from Sikhs requesting the NYPD change its policy and invitations to join law enforcement from police chiefs around the world that would not have been issued without the diligent efforts of the Sikh sangat.

March 4, 2003 Press Conference

Media Guide (pdf file)
Photographs of Sikh Officers (zip file)
March 4, 2003 Press Release
The Sikh Coalition and Amric Singh (Rathour) filed a federal lawsuit challenging the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) “no turban” policy. Amric Singh was terminated by the NYPD in August 2001 for refusing orders to remove his turban and trim his beard, both required by his religion.

A contingent of Sikh police officers from Canada and Great Britain joined Amric Singh at the press conference. The Sikh officers stressed that the turban did not impede their ability to perform their duties. Sikhs have served as police officers in Great Britain and Canada for decades. Amric Singh was also joined today by religious leaders from the Christian, Muslim and Buddhist faiths. The leaders stated their concern that Amric Singh was unfairly being discriminated against on the basis of his religion.

The Complaint filed in court today details the manner in which Amric Singh was repeatedly pressured to remove his turban. Among other things, Amric Singh was told that he should “make a change” so that his turban and beard “come off.”
In one of the most successful events organized by the Sikh Coalition, the press briefing on the Amric Singh case announcing the lawsuit was a landmark event in the history of Sikhs in the United States. ABC, CBS, WB11, UPN, FOX, RNN, NBC, Reuters, Daily News, Newark Star Ledger and Associated Press were just some of the broadcast outlets that attended the press conference. Numerous print media journalists attended, generating stories is all major periodicals such as the New York Times. Newspapers such as New York Newsday ran two stories on the case and an editorial in our favor. Below is just a partial list of media coverage that we were able to gather.

New York One, Video
Sikh Man Files Discrimination Suit Against NYPD

BBC News
Sikh sues New York police

New York Times
Sikh to Sue Police Over Turban and Beard

Newsday, Editorial
Nothing Sacred About NYPD Traffic Agents’ Hats

Sikh Sues NYPD Over Firing

ABC News
Sikh Man Charges NYPD With Discrimination Over Beard, Turban

Sikh Man Charges NYPD With Discrimination Over Beard, Turban

Associated Press
Sikh man charges NYPD with discrimination over beard, turban

Knock, Knock, Who is there NYPD

Channel News Asia
Sikh Sues NYPD for Racial Discrimination

Times of India
Sikh Sues NYPD For Religious Discrimination

Hindustan Times
Sikh American Sues U.S. Police for Religious Bias

The Statesman India
Sikh Alleges Discrimination by NYPD

India Express
Indian American To Sue New York Police

Straits Times, Singapore
Sikh sues New York police over turban

South Africa Broadcasting News
Sikh Traffic Officer Sues NYPD for Religious Right

Sify News, India
Ex-Sikh cop sues NYPD over racism

Queens Chronicle
Ozone Park Sikh Man Files Suit Against Police Department

Additional Television Coverage

March 10, 2003 Debate on MSNBC TV
The Sikh Coalition debated advocates of the NYPD “No Turban” policy on a MSNBC nationwide television broadcast. The format of the debate led to advocates of the “No Turban” policy attempting to avoid the basic issues involved. Yet, the strength of Amric Singh’s claims rose above the distractions, continually stressing the Constitutional foundation of his claims and relating how Sikhs were welcomed in police departments and military units across the United States and the world.