Jasmer Singh (right) was killed after a fender bender turned into a violent argument in Queens (Picture: Subeg Singh/Facebook)
A man in New York City was charged with hate crimes after beating a Sikh man to death following a minor accident.
Gilbert Augustin, 30, was charged with manslaughter, assault, and hate crimes after beating and mocking Jasmer Singh, a 66-year-old Sikh man, after a minor accident on the Van Wyck Expressway in Queens.
‘This is a case of a fender bender immediately escalating to hateful language and then brutal, deadly violence,’ Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
She continued: ‘We will show in court that it was a rage inflamed by hate that led to this senseless tragedy. The defendant will have to answer to some very serious charges.’
According to prosecutors, Singh collided with Augustin around 11.50am on October 19 in Kew Gardens. Both drivers pulled over to the side of the road to asses the damage.
Augustin confronted Singh, who remained in the drivers seat of his Toyota. The two drivers began a ‘verbal dispute’ on the side of the road.
Witnesses said they heard Augustin repeatedly tell Singh ‘no police, no police’ and call him a ‘turban man.’
Augustin then told Singh he would ‘not allow him to go home’ or call the cops. He then grabbed Singh’s cell phone from his hands, video footage from the crime scene shows.
Singh then stepped out of his car and confronted Augustin. He managed to get his phone back, but as he was walking back to his car, Augustin punched him in the back of the head three times.
One of the blows knocked Singh’s turban from his head. The older man then fell backwards, hitting his head on the pavement.
Singh was rushed to the hospital, where he died the next day.
Singh’s son, who only gave his last name Multani, told the New York Daily News that his father suffered a broken skull and multiple broken teeth from the attack.
After his tragic death, Singh’s family called for upgraded hate crime charges for the attacker.
‘When someone is attacking … someone, pointing on his turban, that means that the person has some kind of hate on his mind,’ his son told the Daily News.
Mayor Eric Adams also spoke out, stating ‘hatred’ took Singh’s life.
‘Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death,’ Adams said on Twitter. ‘On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want our Sikh community to know you have more than our condolences.’
Augustin drove off after punching Singh. He was found by police the same day, sitting in his Ford Mustang that still bore a small indentation from the fender bender.
Police said Augustin was driving with a suspended license and couldn’t show valid insurance for his vehicle.
He was charged on Tuesday under a 20-count indictment and is facing up to 25 years in prison.
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‘This is a case of a fender bender immediately escalating to hateful language and then brutal, deadly violence.’