Attacker of Sikh cab driver in Seattle sentenced to 40 months in jail

Jamie Larson almost beat Kashmira Hothi dead.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Jamie Larson, the man arrested and convicted for brutally beating Sikh taxi driver Kashmira Hothi to within inches of his life in Seattle last year, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.

In addition to his jail sentence, Larson will be supervised upon release for up to three years, and will pay monetary restitutions to Hothi in an amount that has not yet been disclosed. Larson himself has also said that he will be joining Alcoholics Anonymous, as he has a history of alcohol abuse and because alcohol was a contributing factor to his attack on Hothi.

Larson, 50, admitted to the court during his trial that he violently attacked Hothi because he believed him to be of Middle Eastern descent, and presumably thought he was a terrorist. In addition to beating Hothi, Larson shouted racial slurs and epithets at him, qualifying the attack as a federal hate crime.

Hothi was driving a cab on the night of October 27, 2012, when Larson got in as a fare because his friends determined he was too drunk to drive home. Hothi took Larson to the address that was on his driver’s license, but upon arriving there, Larson said that the address was not his home.

In order to clarify the situation, Hothi knocked on the door of the home and spoke to a woman inside, who told him that Larson was a former boyfriend of her daughter, but that he had no connection to the house otherwise and would not be permitted to stay there overnight.

As Hothi was speaking to the woman, Larson approached him and began beating him in a drunken rage, calling him things like “towelhead,” saying that Hothi’s people were “taking away all [Americans’] jobs” and that the US should “send them all back.”

The woman called the police, who subsequently arrested Larson and rushed Hothi to the hospital. He suffered kidney failure from having his stomach stomped on and had part of his beard ripped out by Larson. Hothi spent a total of eight days in the hospital, weeks in physical therapy, and was unable to return to work for several months.

Larson identified alcohol as a key reason he committed the crime, saying he wasn’t even aware of the full extent of his actions until he read the brief given to him by his attorney. Larson expressed deep remorse and told the court he was willing to accept whatever punishment they gave him.

Despite his reconciliatory behavior, however, he was not given a softer sentence. US District Court Judge John C. Coughenour said that Larson’s attack was just one in a long line of similarly violent, racist behavior, and said that the words Larson used to insult Hothi during the attack were among the filthiest he had ever heard in 30 years as a judge.

Sikhs have often been mistaken for Muslims and Middle Easterners in the years after 9/11, and have become the subject of several brutal attacks and murders. The most high-profile one occurred last year in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, when a white supremacist opened fire in the parking lot of a gurudwara and killed six people.

To contact the author, email to deepakchitnis@americanbazaaronline.com

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