Hate crime charge filed in attack on Sikh man outside Bakersfield restaurant

A man has been charged with a hate crime after he allegedly threw a drink on a Sikh man outside a Bakersfield restaurant and yelled racial slurs at him, authorities said.

David Hook faces two misdemeanor counts of battery and hate crime in connection with the Sept. 30 attack, according to the Kern County district attorney office.

According to prosecutors, Hook threw the liquid on Balmeet Singh because “he appeared to be of a different religion or race.”

If Hook is convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and a fine.

Singh was attacked at about 7:40 p.m. while walking outside Habit Burger and talking with his cousin on a cellphone, he said in a video that he posted on YouTube. That’s when a man began walking toward Singh and shouted racial slurs at Singh.

The man, he said, yelled, "So you’re going to blow up this country. You're trying to blow up this country?”

The man continued shouting and threatened Singh, he said on the video. According to Singh, he said, “You're trying to blow up this country. I should … kill you right now.”

The man approached him, threw a drink in his face and said he was going to kill him for “blowing up this country,” Singh said

“I didn’t know how to react, so I walked up to him, and he ran or walk towards the parking lot,” Singh said.

The attack occurred in front of about 10 people, who he said just watched and didn’t step up to help.

Singh recorded his narrative of the attack because he said he wanted to “remind everybody to be safe and be vigilant.”

“Incidents like this make it very critical to remember who we vote for as a president and who we elect into our country’s leadership really matters,” he said.

The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the attack.

“We condemn this apparently bias-motivated attack and urge law enforcement authorities to bring the perpetrator to justice,” the group’s executive director, Hussam Ayloush, said in a statement. “Californians of all faiths and backgrounds must stand together in the face of growing hatred and division in our state and nation.”

The attack came just days after Maan Singh Khalsa, a Sikh man, was severely beaten and some of his hair was cut off by attackers in Richmond, Calif.

Khalsa wears a turban and maintains his hair and beard unshorn as part of his Sikh faith. A pair of Texas men were charged on Oct. 14 in the attack.

veronica.rocha@latimes.com

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.

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