Police in Queens, New York City, have arrested a 19-year-old youth for his alleged involvements in attacks on three Sikh men, in two separate incidents, both of which took place in April. “I am gratified to report that the NYPD has arrested the second suspect in Tuesday’s heinous crime against the Sikh community. This comes on the heels of the other suspect being formally charged this morning with hate crimes. I thank the NYPD for their quick action,” tweeted Jenifer Rajkumar, a member of the New York State Assembly, and the first Punjabi-American to be elected to a New York state office.
The accused, Vernon Douglas, was arrested on Thursday from Brooklyn, two days after two Sikh men were assaulted in Queens. While 20-year-old Hezekiah Coleman was arrested on the day of the crime, Douglas was absconding.
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On April 3, Douglas also allegedly assaulted 70-year-old Nirmal Singh, who was visiting from India and has since returned home. The incident took place at an area ‘very close to’ the spot where the fresh assaults took place. For his alleged involvement in the two cases, Douglas has been charged with multiple counts of robbery, assault, aggravated harassment and hate crimes.
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Reacting to the attack on Singh, India’s Consulate General had said it is ‘deeply disturbed’ by the incident. “We condemn the violent attack and are in touch with the New York Police Department and local authorities who are investigating the matter. We are also in touch with the local community organisations to ensure the well-being of the victim,” it had said in a statement.
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Meanwhile, according to an earlier post by Rajkumar, hate crimes against the Sikh community in New York have seen an alarming 200% rise in recent years.
(With PTI inputs)