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This Press Release may be read online at: http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-04-02-2009-00.htm

Press Release: 4th Feb 2009, Saturday         23rd Maagh (Samvat 541 Nanakshahi )

Press Release

Sikh Youth Assaulted by Security Guards at Toronto Games Arena

"The security guards and police officers had no legal justification to apply any force whatsoever to Gagandeep and in doing they committed an assault on his person. The actions of both the security guards and police were reprehensible and unjustified."  Jagmeet Singh, criminal defence lawyer of Dhaliwal Law, who is representing Gagandeep Singh and working with UNITED SIKHS


"Sikhs should be able to live in dignity and with respect in Toronto, which is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We do not know of any reason the security guard could have to ask Gagandeep to leave the wash room. The guards actions appear to be racially bias," UNITED SIKHS Community Affairs Coordinator, Ranbir Singh, commented.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Gagandeep Singh, a 21 year old Sikh student, suffered injustice twice, when he was assaulted by security and then arrested by police at a Toronto Raptor's game last Friday, after security officers at the Air Canada Centre began to harass Gagandeep. UNITED SIKHS attorneys are seeking dismissal of the citations issued by police, and are writing to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. the owners of the Air Canada Centre warning legal recourse unless swift action is taken to redress the incident.

The incident occurred when Gagandeep, an avid Toronto Raptors fan, entered a washroom after a post-basketball event on Friday, January 30th. As he approached an empty stall, a security officer accosted Gagandeep and told him that he had to leave. When Gagandeep inquired as to why he was being asked to leave, the security officer became aggressive and began pushing Gagandeep, warning him, "you don't want to mess with me." As the situation escalated, four to five other security officers became involved in dragging Gagandeep from the washroom, at which time his turban was also knocked off by one of the security officers. Gagandeep was then brought to police, who put him in a choke hold, handcuffed him, and charged him under the trespass to property act, for both trespass and engaging in prohibited activity. Gagandeep attended the event as a birthday present from his sister Simran Kaur, who also witnessed Gagandeep in police custody.

"Gagandeep did not commit any offence. Gagandeep vehemently maintains his innocence and as his defence counsel I will vigorously defend him against these false allegations. Gagandeep and Simran were ticket paying fans of the Raptors who were both fully entitled to attend the game and other related events," said Jagmeet Singh of Dhaliwal Law, criminal defence lawyer who is representing Gagandeep Singh and working with UNITED SIKHS on this case.

He added, "The security guards and police officers had no legal justification to apply any force whatsoever to Gagandeep and in doing they committed an assault on his person. The actions of both the security guards and police were reprehensible and unjustified."

Gagandeeps bruised and swollen wrists after police handcuffing and scratched hand from the incident

Gagandeep Singh stated, "I'm outraged by the way I was treated by security. Not only did they have the audacity to single me out because of my appearance, but then police actually charged me with trespass when I didn't do anything wrong and was supported to be there."

UNITED SIKHS Community Affairs Coordinator, Ranbir Singh, commented, "Sikhs should be able to live in dignity and with respect in Toronto, which is one of the most diverse cities in the world. We do not know of any reason the security guard could have to ask Gagandeep to leave the wash room. The guard's actions appear to be racially biased."

UNITED SIKHS is actively pursuing successful resolution of the case, including an apology, diversity-training, and compensation. We urge the Sikh community or any minority community to continue to report incidents of discrimination of any kind, so that appropriate actions can be taken, by calling 1-888-243-1690 or emailing law-canada@unitedsikhs.org

You may read a previous press release of UNITED SIKHS' assistance to a victim of assault at http://www.unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-31-01-2009-00.htm.

Issued By:

Amneet Singh
UNITED SIKHS
law-canada@unitedsikhs.org
1- 905 672 2245


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