Online Edition Vol 2 Issue 4
Sep 21, 2007
NEW YORK (TIP): Anthony Bryant, a
36 year old New Yorker, was sentenced to
do community service for 10 days and ordered
to make restitution for damages
caused to Avtar Singh Dhanjal's car, after
he pleaded guilty to a charge of Criminal
Mischief in the Fourth Degree as a Hate
On completion of his community
service, Bryant, who had no previous convictions,
had his conviction replaced with
disorderly conduct, at a hearing at the
Manhattan Criminal Courts (Court F) on
The case, which was prosecuted by Assistant
District Attorney Bernice Ordonez,
arose from an incident when Bryant verbally
abused Avtar Singh with racial slurs,
including comments about his turban, an
article of faith worn by Sikhs to protect the
sanctity of their uncut hair.
also damaged Avtar Singh's taxi by breaking
the passenger's side-view mirror and
kicking the taxi.
Avtar Singh, 60 years, was attacked by
Anthony Bryant, at a traffic light in New
York City on 11th October 2006. This
was the day Cory Lidle, a pitcher for the
New York Yankees baseball team, was
killed as his plane flew into a residential
high-rise building in New York's Upper
igniting several apartments before pieces of
the aircraft crashed to the ground.
singled out Avtar Singh due to his appearance
and he had mistakenly associated the latter with
terrorist groups, presuming the plane crash that
day was a terrorist attack.
Avtar Singh's complaint was initially not investigated
by police even though he had provided
the license plate number of the offender's vehicle.
No arrests were made until UNITED
SIKHS' International Civil and Human Rights
Advocacy Directorate intervened. On investigating,
police failed to treat the incident as a
hate crime but as a criminal mischief arising
from damage to property. However, with the
help of Douglas Zeigler, Chief of Community
Affairs, New York Police Department (NYPD)
and Detective Michael Theogene (NYPD), who
worked along side UNITED SIKHS, Bryant,
was bought to justice.
"People should come forward
and report hate crimes, if they feel their
voice is not being heard. Please contact us and
we will do our best to help," said Mankanwal
Singh, UNITED SIKHS director.
After the frightening ordeal, Avtar Singh has
returned to work and is trying to return back to
his usual life. "I hope that there will be an end to
these hates incidents.
There is a need to highlight such incidents so
that the community is aware of the problems we
are facing." He also stressed on the need to educate
people about the Sikh religion and stated,
"It is important that people understand who we
He then went on say that he wished to thank
UNITED SIKHS for helping in the case and he
hopes the organization continues with such
work as it is needed in the community.
Article by Courtesy of http://www.theindianpanorama.com