January 12, 2022 (New York, NY) — The Sikh Coalition is providing free legal support to the Sikh taxi driver who was attacked at JFK airport on January 3. At the request of this community member, the Sikh Coalition is not publishing his name or image and is referring to him only as “Mr. Singh” in all public communication.
On that morning, Mr. Singh had parked his cab at the Terminal 4 taxi stand when another driver blocked his vehicle in. When Mr. Singh picked up a customer, he stepped partway out of his car to ask the other driver to move. The other driver attempted to hit Mr. Singh with his own car door; he then began repeatedly hitting Mr. Singh in the head, chest, and arms, causing his dastaar to become unraveled and fall off, and called him “turbaned people” and shouted at him to “go back to your country.”
Mr. Singh has vehemently asked for privacy at this time, and that the video of the attack not be shared further on social media. He provided the following quote for the Sikh Coalition to share with reporters and the community: “I was shocked and angered to be assaulted for doing nothing but minding my own business while working–no one should experience such hate. I am hopeful that the police can identify, arrest, and charge the person who attacked me so that I can move forward.”
Mr. Singh did file a report with the Port Authority Police Department immediately after the incident. The Sikh Coalition is currently working to ensure that the report includes all of the details of the attack, given the language barrier during the initial conversations. Yesterday, our staff accompanied Mr. Singh to a meeting with a detective to provide language assistance and legal support.
“We have every expectation that bias will be considered as a factor in this outrageous attack, given the evidence of what the other driver said and did to Mr. Singh,” said Amrith Kaur Aakre, Sikh Coalition Legal Director. “The Sikh Coalition is appreciative of all who have stepped forward to support Mr. Singh and called attention to his assault. As the investigation moves forward, we will work towards a just outcome that holds the attacker accountable for his actions–while also reiterating that the Sikh community remains an integral part of New York City.”
The Sikh Coalition is deeply thankful to all concerned community members who have reached out about this case and offered their support to Mr. Singh. While he is not speaking to members of the press at this time, we will continue to provide public updates on the investigation into his attacker. Additionally, we remain concerned about the heightened risk of hate to Sikh taxi and rideshare drivers: In the past several years, we have provided legal aid to multiple Sikh drivers attacked across the country, and we continue to provide know-your-rights resources proactively to help the community stay safe. If you or someone you know has experienced hate or bias, please contact our legal team for free, expert assistance.
As always, the Sikh Coalition urges you to practice your faith fearlessly.