May 10, 2022 (Sutter, CA) — Almost one year ago, Rouble Paul Claire, a first generation Sikh American and father, was threatened with a racial slur and vehicular violence at a local store and then, in a second separate but related incident hours later, subjected to more racial slurs and hateful graffiti at his home. Mr. Claire immediately notified the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), but after months of delay and inaction, he retained the Sikh Coalition for free legal help in October of 2021. 

The SCSO ultimately recommended bringing charges against the offender. However, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO) refuses to prosecute the case. After giving the SCDAO every chance to do their job and bring the appropriate charges, the Sikh Coalition urges you to join us in helping bring justice for Mr. Claire before it’s too late. TAKE ACTION and send a letter to the SCDAO calling for justice for Mr. Claire NOW. The statutory deadline for the SCDAO to bring charges is this Wednesday, May 11. Once you’ve taken action, be sure to forward to your friends and family and ask them to speak out, too!

Simultaneously, Mr. Claire has filed a civil suit against officers of the SCSO, Sutter County, and the individual who threatened him. Through the Sikh Coalition legal referral system, attorneys Gina Szeto-Wong, Principal Attorney of Szeto-Wong Law, and Sean Tamura-Sato, Managing Partner of Minami Tamaki LLP, are representing Mr. Claire in the civil case.

On May 11, 2021, Mr. Claire was accosted by a woman in his neighborhood at a local grocery store. The woman shouted and cursed at Mr. Claire–including by calling him a “f*cking Hindu”–threatened to “ram” him with her car, and then got in her car and sped towards him in a parking lot, only swerving away at the last moment. Later that day, another woman connected to the assailant in the first incident wrote the word “sandn*gger” in chalk on the sidewalk outside Mr. Claire’s house and in his driveway, and called him “n*gger” when he went outside. 

“I have been subject to threats, harassment, and racial slurs–yet almost a full year later, no one has been held accountable,” said Mr. Claire. “For months after immediately reporting these hateful acts, I sat in silence waiting for action that never came. I did not want to have to take legal action against anyone, but I believe that this failure of justice is unacceptable: No one in our community should have to face this kind of hate and bigotry.”  

Despite repeatedly appealing to the SCSO for help, Mr. Claire received little aid. One deputy who responded to the chalking incident used his own water bottle in an attempt to wash away the evidence before taking photos for the office; another advised him not to drive on his own street to avoid any confrontation. For months, Mr. Claire’s requests for action, charges, or even a police report documenting the incidents suffered delays or were completely ignored. When the Sikh Coalition engaged the SCSO, the investigation essentially began anew. The SCSO finally recommended charges against the woman who threatened Mr. Claire at the grocery store–but the SCDAO declined to bring those charges because of the time that had passed. 

“No one deserves to feel threatened in their own community, and law enforcement–both police and prosecutors–simply must do better,” said Amrith Kaur Aakre (she/her), Sikh Coalition Legal Director. “Tragically, we have seen time and again that hateful interactions can lead to violent results; the case of Khalid Jabara, killed in Oklahoma in 2016 after months of verbal, bias-based harassment from a neighbor, comes to mind. The large Sikh population in this area is only more reason to ensure that all members of this community feel safe and secure.”

The Sikh Coalition is calling on the SCDAO to bring charges of Criminal Threats, Assault, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and any other appropriate charges against the woman who initially threatened Mr. Claire with her car. We also remain extremely concerned about the complete inaction of local law enforcement in response to the racial slurs and graffiti on and around Mr. Claire’s property–and broader allegations of a pattern of inaction by the SCDAO in cases targeting members of marginalized communities. You can support this effort to pursue justice for Mr. Claire NOW by taking just a moment to send an email to the SCDAO with our online tool.

As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.