Hate Crime: Pennsylvania man Jeffrey Burgess sentenced for assaulting Indian American Ankur Mehta

Hand writing stop hate crime on grey background

Restitution to the victim will be determined at a later date.

A US district court last week sentenced Pennsylvania resident Jeffrey Burgess to three years’ probation and four months of house arrest after he was found guilty of physically attacking Indian American Ankur Mehta and abusing him with racial expletives.

Burgess, a resident of Pittsburgh, was indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in March 2017.

According to the indictment report, Burgess allegedly violated the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act by willfully causing bodily injury to Mehta because of the victim’s perceived race, color, and national origin.

Burgess pleaded guilty to causing physical injuries to Mehta in addition to calling him “terrorist.”

The incident that resulted in the sentencing of Burgess happened at a Red Robin restaurant in Bethel Park when Mehta sat next to him.

According to the statement given by Mehta, he ignored his assailant’s initial glances while sitting next to him and ordered for food, after which he tugged-in his headphones to listen to music.

After a while, when the music stopped, Mehta heard Burgess calling him a “terrorist” and hurling other vulgar slurs. He also said, “I don’t want you sitting next to me… you people.”

The victim, in his representation, claimed that despite him keeping calm, the atrocious nature of his co-diner escalated and, Burgess started physically assaulting, causing fracture and injuries to his neck and head, respectively.

The Almanac reported that this could be a case of Islamophobia as Burgess, before assaulting the Indian American, used anti-Muslim slurs and said “things are different now” — hinting at the change in administration.

According to the sentence delivered by US District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, Burgess, 56, in addition to the house arrest and four months of probation, must also perform 50 hours of community service, undergo treatment for alcohol abuse and participate in a restorative justice program administered by Center for Victims.

Restitution to the victim will be determined at a later date.

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His next hearing in Johnson County is scheduled for May 8. 


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