New York Mayor Eric Adams has vowed to protect the city’s Sikh community after a 66-year-old Sikh man was killed after being pummeled following a car crash in Queens.
“Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death,” Adams wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday after Singh succumbed to his injuries from the accident last week.
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“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want our Sikh community to know you have more than our condolences,” he wrote. “You have our sacred vow that we reject the hatred that took this innocent life and we will protect you.”
Jasmer Singh loved his city and deserved so much more than his tragic death. 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. pic.twitter.com/JvhhmDJ9v2
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMayor) October 22, 2023
Gilbert Augustin, 30, was arrested and charged in the death of Jasmer Singh. However, NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force is not yet investigating the incident, which they believe was sparked by a car crash, New York Daily News reported citing a police spokesperson.
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Both cars had dents and scratches, but when Singh went to call 911, witnesses heard a man say “no police, no police” and watched as a man ripped the victim’s phone from his hands as he sat in his car, according to prosecutors.
Singh got out of the car and followed Augustin in an attempt to get his phone back as the two argued. The older man got his phone back and was walking back to his car when Augustin punched him three times in the head and face, they added.
Singh fell to the ground and hit his head, while Augustin hopped back into his Ford Mustang and took off, according to a criminal complaint. Medics rushed Singh to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in critical condition, where he died the next day of a brain injury.
Police pulled Augustin over on Friday about two miles from the crash site and found he had a suspended drivers license and his Alabama license plate did not match his New York registration.
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Police at the NYPD’s 102 Precinct connected him to Singh’s death and charged him with manslaughter and assault, among other lesser charges.
Following an arraignment in Queens Saturday, Augustin was held without bail.
Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Indian American elected to New York State assembly, has also condemned the assault on Jasmer Singh and 19-year-old Mani Sandhu last week and vowed to work with Adams to protect the community.
“I represent Richmond Hill, the ‘Sikh Capital of the USA.’ In our community, Sikhs, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, and Jews live together in harmony, often on the same block,” she stated. “When a crime occurs against any of us, it is a crime against all of us, and we come together in solidarity.”
“Sikhs are our protectors: their faith preaches seva, meaning selfless service,’” Rajkumar stated. “Their religion teaches that there is divinity in everyone of any faith, and that there is an obligation to protect the welfare of all humanity.”
“Every single day, Sikhs serve free meals to anyone who asks, the practice of langar. Their daily prayers include the saying, ‘Blessings for everyone.’ Every practitioner of this beautiful faith deserves our unyielding respect,” she stated.
“As the first Punjabi-American ever elected to New York State Office, I will always fight for the freedom and dignity of Sikh Americans and people of every faith,” Rajkumar stated.
“I will continue working with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Edward Caban, and all stakeholders to deliver the resources for our Sikh family to live in peace and safety,” she stated.