Richmond attack prompts call for hate-crime investigation

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The Sikh Coalition, a national civil rights organization, called Friday for a hate crime investigation into an unprovoked attack on a man in Richmond’s Hilltop neighborhood.

Maan Singh Khalsa, a 41-year-old father, IT specialist and caregiver for the elderly, was driving about 9 p.m. on Sept. 25 when he encountered the alleged assailants while stopped at a red light near Hilltop Mall Drive, about a half-mile from his home, according to a letter from The Sikh Coalition addressed to local police and prosecutors.

A man riding in a white Ford F-150 “threw a beer can at his car wholly unprovoked,” the letter said.

After Khalsa rolled down his window to question the action, the “five or six” white men in the vehicle cursed at him, the letter said. One exited the vehicle, prompting Khalsa to drive on and dial 911.

But at the next red light, the suspects rolled up again and three men exited their vehicle and attacked Khalsa through his window, “knocking off his Sikh turban and hitting his face repeatedly,” the letter said.

“His assailants shouted, ‘Cut his hair,’ pulled his head out of the window by his hair, and cut a fistful of his religiously-mandated hair with a knife,” the complaint said.

Khalsa drove off and was instructed by the 911 operator to wait for police by a gas station. He suffered cuts to his fingers and hands requiring stitches, a swollen black eye, teeth damage and “deep humiliation,” The Sikh Coalition statement said.

The letter indicates that two suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack.

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