Andrew Ramsey pleaded guilty to misdemeanour counts of intimidation and assault in the Jan. 14 incident targeting Harwinder Singh Dodd, the Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organisation in the U.S., said in a release.
The intimidation count is considered a hate crime, the civil rights group added.
Witnesses said Ramsey pulled on Dodd’s beard after he refused to sell him cigarettes without an ID, punched him and pulled him to the ground. Bystanders restrained Ramsey until police arrived.
Dodd, who came to the U.S. from India and owns the convenience store, noted in a written statement to the court that hate crimes are on the rise in America. The FBI says hate crimes increased by 40 percent in Oregon from 2016 to 2017.
“He didn’t see me as a person,” Dodd said of Ramsey. “He attacked me because of how I look. Because of my turban and beard — my religious articles of faith.”
Police said Ramsey also threw his shoe at Dodd and snatched his turban. Sikh men don’t cut their hair and cover it with a turban for religious reasons, the report added.
Sikh American shot in a possible hate crime in Cincinnati (Asia Samachar, 29 May 2018)