The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department has arrested one Mohamed Hassanain in the hate crime case where he had assaulted an Indian-origin Sikh taxi driver at John F. Kennedy International Airport on January 3. According to Sikh Coalition, the accused is also a taxi driver.
A video of the incident had gone viral where accused Hassanain is seen shouting at the victim “go back to your country”, and “turbaned people” in a derogatory manner. Hassanain had further punched and shoved the Sikh driver and ripped off his turban.
Hassanain has been charged with assault in the third degree as a hate crime, assault in the third degree, and aggravated harassment in the second degree. Accused Hassanain is set to be arraigned on January 15 by the competent court.
Sikh Coalition, that calls itself a community-based civil and human rights organisation thanked police for the quick action.
UPDATE: The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department has arrested Mohamed Hassanain for the January 3 attack on “Mr. Singh,” a Sikh taxi driver, at JFK airport. The incident is being considered a hate crime. Read more: https://t.co/PZb6nuS6jC pic.twitter.com/fwnm1uqJ6a— Sikh Coalition (@sikh_coalition) January 15, 2022
“We are grateful to the Port Authority Police Department and Queens District Attorney’s Office for their prompt action on this case, and for recognizing that the attack on Mr Singh included clear anti-Sikh bias,” said Amrith Kaur Aakre, the Legal Director of the Sikh Coalition.
“This case underscores the importance of sharing all of the details of these kinds of attacks with law enforcement. Holding perpetrators accountable for both their actions and their hateful motivations is the clearest way to show that bigotry, and the violence that it fuels, have no place in our communities”, she said further.
She said that taxi and rideshare drivers from the Sikh community are at a heightened risk of hateful assault. In recent years, the Sikh Coalition has provided free legal aid to many Sikh drivers who were attacked in various places across the USA.
The incident left people shocked and angered as the Sikh driver was assaulted and abused without any provocation.
The victim had parked his taxi at the Terminal 4 taxi stand and in the meantime accused blocked his vehicle. When he picked up a customer, he stepped out of his car and asked Hassanain to move. On this Hassanain attempted to hit him with his own car door and later on started punching the victim in the head, chest, and arms, knocking off his turban.
The victim said that he was shocked and angered when he was assaulted for doing nothing. “I am thankful for law enforcement, the Sikh Coalition, and all those in the community who have offered their strength in this difficult time. No one should experience what I did–but if they do, I hope they receive the same overwhelming amount of support and quick, professional action by the authorities in response”, the driver said.