Maan Singh Khalsa was attacked while at a stoplight in Richmond, California, the Washington Post reports.
The attack occurred on September 25 around 9 p.m. local time, when Khalsa, a Sikh man who wears both a turban and long hair for religious reasons was confronted by a group of white men at a red light.
According to the report, the white male passengers pulled up next to Khalsa in a pickup truck, threw a beer can at him, and yelled and cursed at him.
One of the attackers allegedly yelled, “cut his f*cking hair!” They later pulled Khalsa’s head out of the car window at another red light, removed his turban and cut off his long hair.
In a statement, Khalsa said, “The attackers caused physical injuries and deep harm when they targeted my Sikh faith. I urge a thorough investigation so we can address the tide of violence and bigotry in this country.”
Two of the three men who were involved in the incident, Chase Little, 31, of Beaumont, Texas, and Dustin Albarado, 35, of Louisiana were arrested shortly after on felony assault charges in connection with the attack, but have since been released on bail, KTVU reports.
At this time, it remains unclear whether the Contra Costa County district attorney’s will charge the suspected attackers with a hate crime.
Khalsa was left with a swollen black eye, dental damage, and a finger that may need amputation. The Sikh Coalition legal director Harsimran Kaur said, “They started beating him in the face. They took a knife. His turban got knocked off. They ended up cutting off part of his hair.”
The Sikh Coalition wrote in a letter, “Targeting a Sikh’s turban and hair is analogous to targeting a Jew’s yarmulke or a Muslim’s hijab.”