In a video of the incident, two young men are shown harassing 71-year-old Sahib Singh Natt while he was taking a walk in Manteca, near Stockton in the Central Valley, at about 6 a.m. on Monday.
Natt tried to ignore and walk past the two men, but they followed him and suddenly attacked him. When the old man fell to the ground, one of the men kicked him repeatedly and spat on him.
Natt attempted to defend himself after getting up, but he was kicked down again. Eventually, the men began to leave, but one returned to kick Natt several more times as he lay helplessly on the ground.
The victim, whose epileptic seizure seven years ago affected his ability to communicate with others, has since been released from a local hospital after getting immediate treatment for his injuries.
On Wednesday, Manteca Police Department arrested 18-year-old Tyrone Keith McAllister, son of Union City Police Chief Darryl McAllister, in connection with the unprovoked attack, according to the New York Post.
McAllister, who was accompanied by an unnamed 16-year-old during the attack, was booked on one count of attempted robbery, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Police noted earlier that one of the two suspects seen on surveillance video may have waved a gun.
The police chief, who said he and his wife worked with the Manteca Police Department to track down and arrest their son, has since expressed “deep concern for the victim and the victim’s family.”
In a Facebook post, Chief McAllister condemned his son’s actions, saying that “violence and hatred are not what we have taught our children; intolerance for others is not even in our vocabulary, let alone our values.”
While the assault was initially investigated as a robbery, police are now looking to determine if it was indeed a hate crime.
“We are currently investigating the case and looking to directly connect with the impacted community member to guarantee that his legal rights are protected and that all steps are taken to thoroughly investigate this crime,” Sikh Coalition Legal Director Amrith Kaur said in a statement.
“At this stage, we are closely monitoring the situation in order to determine what the evidence shows the motivation of this vicious attack to be. We hope to learn more soon and will share appropriate updates then.”