Richmond Mayor Tom Butt says he is outraged by the attack of a Sikh resident allegedly at the hands of two visiting Chevron refinery workers last month.
Dustin Albarado, 25, of Louisiana, and Chase Little, 31, of Texas, were arrested on felony assaults charges, authorities said. Maan Singh Khalsa, an IT specialist for the Social Security Administration says they attacked him as he drove home from work.
"We just don't tolerate this kind of thing in Richmond," Butt said.
Khalsa says he was the target of a hate crime and the men hit him through his car window. And when his turban fell off, the suspects cut his hair with a knife, according to Khalsa.
"I think the fact they ripped off this gentleman's turban and started cutting his hair, what other justification is there for that other than a hate crime?" Butt said.
Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies arrested Little and Albarado on the scene of the alleged attack. A third suspect escaped, police said.
The DA's office is investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Butt fears similar attacks are being fueled by the rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has raised eyebrows on his comments regarding Muslims, Mexicans and women.
"I think the public comments he makes actually is adding fuel to the fire," Butt said. "It reinforces people who think this kind of behavior is OK."
Local Sikhs want justice and pray people will choose tolerance and respect over hate.
"We are over 100 years in the U.S.," said Darshan Singh Mundy, a Sikh community leader. "We are a very peace-loving people."
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) issued the following statement:
"I join the people of Richmond and the Sikh community in expressing my deep concern over the attack on Mr. Khalsa. Acts of discrimination and hatred have no place in our society, and no member of our community should ever fear for their safety because of their religion or culture."