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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Punjab Abroad- USA

Sikh case: Seattle man jailed for 3 yrs for brutal assault
PTI
New York, December 11, 2013
First Published: 10:18 IST(11/12/2013)
Last Updated: 18:45 IST(11/12/2013)

A Seattle man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay damages for brutally assaulting a Sikh taxi driver last year in a racially-motivated hate crime during which he used "the most disgusting and ugly" racist language against the victim.


Jamie Larson was sentenced on Tuesday by US District Court Judge John Coughenour to 40 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Larson also owes restitution to the Sikh taxi driver, who hails from India, in an amount to be determined at a later date, the justice department said.

The identity of the Sikh man was not revealed.

Coughenour said the sentence should send the message that this kind of conduct "is absolutely unacceptable. Larson used the most disgusting, ugly and racist language that I have heard in 30 years on the bench."

Larson, 50, had pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which criminalise acts of physical violence causing bodily injury motivated by any person's actual or perceived race, colour, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.

According to information presented in court, the Sikh taxi driver drove an intoxicated Larson to a private residence near Seattle in October 2012.

After arriving at the residence, Larson grabbed the taxi driver by his beard and struck him in the face and shoulder many times before pushing him to the ground.

Larson then repeatedly stomped the Sikh man in his stomach, calling him a "raghead" and a "towelhead". He also screamed various comments to the victim, such as "what are you doing here?" and "why did you come to my country?" Larson admitted that he attacked the victim because he believed the Sikh man was of Middle Eastern descent or ethnicity.

Larson was arrested at the scene of the attack after a witness called 911.

The Sikh man was immediately taken to a hospital and suffered bruising, a loose tooth, sprains and strains to his back and shoulder, and acute kidney failure from the prolonged assault.

He was hospitalised for more than a week and had to undergo lengthy physical therapy.


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