Hate Crime Charges Filed Over Fatal Road-Rage Beating of Sikh Man

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A driver appeared before a court Tuesday on a 20-count indictment, including first-degree manslaughter and assault as a hate crime, in connection to the death of a 66-year-old Sikh man on Oct. 19. According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Gilbert Augustin called Jasmer Singh “turban man” after the two got into a fender bender accident, and acted on “rage inflamed by hate.” As Singh began to walk back to his car, Augustin punched him three times in the head and face, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement, prosecutors say. He suffered a brain injury and died at a hospital the following day. Augustin faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors. The New York Times reported that the killing took place in what New York police have called a sharp rise in reported hate crimes on Jews, Muslims, and other groups since the Israel-Hamas war began. On Tuesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul pledged up to $75 million in grants to local police departments and places of worship to address hate crimes.

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