Minority Report

Suspects Arrested in Cab Driver Assault

By Anju Kaur | December 02, 2010

Both were arrested on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and commission of a hate crime, the police department said in a news report. 
 
Ramirez, 41, is being held on $150,000 bail. He and Morales, a 33-year-old from West Sacramento, were booked at the Yolo County Jail.
 
"The West Sacramento Police Investigations Unit worked collaboratively with the FBI on this assault...," said Lt. Tod Sockman, spokesman for he police department, in the news release. "Through investigative follow up, witnesses and suspects in this case were identified and located."      
 
“In our mind it really was a textbook hate crime,” said Jasjit Singh, associate director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which is assisting in the case. “We’re glad that law enforcement come to same conclusion we did.” 
 
According to the police report, on Nov. 28, at approximately 1:50 a.m., police responded to 685 Lighthouse Drive, regarding an abandoned 911 call. Upon arrival, officers found Harbhajan Singh, victim of an assault.
 
Harbhajan Singh had picked up four people in Sacramento and had driven them to West Sacramento. While in West Sacramento, two of the subjects began assaulting the victim and demanded money from him. 
 
But even after he handed them the money, the perpetrators kept beating him while shouting explicatives and calling him Muslim and Osama bin laden, Jasjit Singh told SikhNN.
 
The fact that they kept beating him even after getting the money goes beyond a typical robbery, Jasjit Singh said. And references to Muslims probably qualified this as a hate crime.
 
A third passenger attempted to stop the assault and was assaulted herself, the police report says. Harbhajan Singh fled the scene when the suspects left the vehicle. He had sustained injuries that were not life threatening and was transported to a nearby hospital. The second victim was not located. 
 
The four subjects involved were described as two males, possibly 30 to 35, and possibly Hispanic. The other two were described only as female. 
 
“The evidence is very slim,” said Lt. Tod Sockman, at the West Sacramento Police Department, just before the warrant was issued. “But the detectives have been working on it since it happened,” documenting statements and evidence, to submit to the district attorney.
 
"We applaud the West Sacramento Police Department on apprehending these individuals in such a timely manner," Jasjit Singh said by email. "We now look to our partners in law enforcement and the (district attorney's) office to prosecute this as a hate crime”
 
Harbhajan Singh suffered lesions on his face, pain in nose and bruised or broken ribs.
 
“He is recovering physically and mentally, and going back to work,” Jasjit Singh told SikhNN. “It’s a strain on him every day he is not working.”