Hate crime alleged in assault of Sikh bus driver

AP News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2016 9:52 PM

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — A man who allegedly called a turbaned Sikh bus driver a terrorist and attacked him on a Los Angeles County bus was charged Wednesday with a hate crime.

KC Tard Jr., 34, could face up to six years in jail if convicted of the Nov. 6 attack.

He remained jailed. An attorney for Tard could not immediately be found.

Tard had boarded the Metro bus in south Los Angeles when he began shouting that the bearded, turbaned driver, Balwinder Jit Singh, was a terrorist and a suicide bomber who had hijacked the vehicle, prosecutors said.

The bus continued into suburban Inglewood, where Tard allegedly battered Singh in the face before leaving.

Tard was arrested a short time later.

He is charged with battery with injury on transit personnel, with an allegation that the attack was a hate crime.

Singh, 56, was left with a swollen jaw and a black eye that later became infected and affected his vision, his lawyer, Gurjot Kaur, said last month. Singh remains on paid leave.

In the wake of deadly attacks by Islamic extremists, there have been several attacks on Sikhs and their houses of worship, apparently from people who mistook them for Muslims.

Last week, a man pleaded guilty to spraying graffiti at and near a Sikh temple in Buena Park, California, including a profane reference to the militant Islamic State group.