The Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday expressed solidarity with the Bay Area's Sikh community after a 57-year-old Richmond man was attacked near his home Sunday.
CAIR's San Francisco Bay Area office also called on the Richmond Police Department to continue its investigation into the attack on Baljeet Singh Sidhu, who was assaulted outside his home near Hilltop Mall at about 4 a.m. Sunday.
Richmond police Lt. Matt Stonebraker said Wednesday that his department is indeed investigating, and that detectives hope to send the case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office shortly.
About 4 a.m. Sunday, after Sidhu's taxi-driving shift ended, a man approached him and asked for a cigarette lighter. Sidhu said he told the man he did not have a lighter, and the man left. The assailant came back a second time saying he had only $5 and needed a ride; Sidhu told him his shift was over and the alleged assailant left. The man came a third time, said Sidhu, who was then attacked with a barbecue grill cover and then knocked down and choked.
Sidhu was left with cuts, bumps and bruises. Friends and family of the victim, who is a Sikh, say they believe the attack to be a hate crime, and that he was singled out because of his Sikh turban and appearance.
"We condemn this attack and express our solidarity with the Sikh community," said Zahra Billoo, executive director of the San Francisco Bay Area office of CAIR. "Sidhu and his loved ones are in our prayers. We urge the Richmond Police Department to investigate a possible bias motive for this incident."
Stonebraker said Richmond police have been working with physical evidence gathered at the scene.