New York City police are looking for a man accused of assaulting a Sikh commuter for wearing a turban on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) bus in Queens on Sunday morning.
What happened: The incident occurred near 118 Street and Liberty Avenue at around 9 a.m. The suspect, whose image was captured on surveillance video, allegedly approached the 19-year-old victim and said “We don’t wear that in this country and take your mask off!”
The suspect then punched the victim on the face, back and the back of his head. He also tried to remove his turban before fleeing the scene.
“He was trying to take off my turban because when he was messing with me he said that ‘You can’t do like that in America.’ I don’t know why he was doing like that. He punched on my neck and my back. When I moved my face, he punched on my nose,” he told PIX 11.
The aftermath: The victim sustained injuries but refused treatment at the scene. He is unable to work for the next few days, community activist Japneet Singh told WABC.
Harpreet Singh Toor, president of the Sikh Cultural Society, told NBC New York that he feared an uptick in hate crimes against his community due to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. Sikhs are not involved in the conflict.
About the suspect: The suspect is believed to be between 25 and 35 years old, about 5 feet and 9 inches tall and has brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a yellow jacket, blue jeans and sneakers.
What’s next: Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime assault. They do not believe it is connected to the war in Israel.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be submitted at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org or via text at 274637 (CRIMES), entering TIP577.