New York City Mayor Eric Adams has promised to “protect” the Sikh community after a 66-year-old man who wore a turban was killed in Queens last week.
Jasmer Singh was left in critical condition on Thursday after a vehicle collision on Queens’ Van Wyck Expressway led to a physical confrontation with another driver. After being transported to a hospital, he died from his injuries on Friday.
Police told NBC News that they arrested 30-year-old Gilbert Augustin, who is charged with manslaughter, assault, aggravated unlicensed operator and leaving the scene of an accident. Augustin pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, and attempts to reach his lawyer were unsuccessful.
“Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death,” Adams tweeted Sunday afternoon. “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want our Sikh community to know you have more than our condolences. You have our sacred vow that we reject the hatred that took this innocent life and we will protect you.”
Police said the investigation is ongoing but did not disclose if the attack is being looked into as a hate crime.
In another tweet, Adams said that his team will be meeting with Sikh leaders this week to discuss the community’s needs. The Sikh Coalition, a national organization dedicated to advancing Sikh Americans, tweeted on Monday that its leaders are aware of Singh’s death and are in touch with the NYPD and the Sikh community, also known as the sangat, in Queens.
“For those who continue to advocate and raise awareness around this and other recent attacks on NYC sangat members, we continue to urge against racist language or generalizations,” the organization said in a series of tweets. “We remain committed to standing together with all marginalized groups, who also stand with us, to push for better policies to counter and prevent bias-motivated violence.”
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Sakshi Venkatraman is a reporter for NBC Asian America.