Chicago teen charged with hate crime in attack on Sikh
A suburban Chicago teenager already charged with punching a Sikh man during what authorities describe as a road rage incident has been charged with hate crime.Updated: Sep 16, 2015 09:25 IST
A suburban Chicago teenager already charged with punching a Sikh man during what authorities describe as a road rage incident has been charged with hate crime.
Further investigation into the September 8 incident revealed that the teen had yelled racial slurs from his vehicle at Inderjit Mukker (53), prosecutors at the State Attorney’s Office stated in a press release issued here on Tuesday. After the two pulled over, Mukker stayed sitting in his vehicle but the teenager (17) walked up to him and punched him in the face, prosecutors add.
“Crimes based on hatred or prejudices have no place in our society,” State’s Attorney Robert B Berlin said in a statement. “Any physical attack motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s pre-conceived bias against another individual based on race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation is a crime not only against the victim but against society as a whole.”
It is unusual for minors to be charged with hate crimes and this might be only the second such case in nine years in DuPage County, State Attorney’s Office spokesman Paul Darrah said. A faith group called the Sikh Coalition has been urging authorities to charge the teenager with a hate crime after Mukker told it that his attacker had called him a terrorist. The group said its members met with prosecutors Monday and “shared additional evidence and information”.
“For the Sikh American community, a formal hate crime charge was never about a harsher penalty, but instead prosecuting the crime,” Sikh Coalition legal director Harsimran Kaur said. After the incident, police identified the teen and went to his home. There, according to Berlin’s office, the teenager resisted arrest and punched a police officer in the face. He has also been charged as a juvenile with five counts of felony aggravated battery.
First Published: Sep 16, 2015 09:14 IST