WASHINGTON (TIP): A federal grand jury in Seattle has indicted a man in Washington state on a federal hate crime charge relating to a racially motivated assault of a 50-year-old Sikh man. Jamie W Larson appeared on Tuesday before a US magistrate judge after his arrest by the FBI, where he pleaded not guilty, the Seattle Times reported.
He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). “Attacks such as this one, based on prejudice and racial hate, are contrary to who we are and violate the law,” said US Attorney Jenny A Durkan. “Protecting the civil rights of all the members of our community is a top priority for our office.” The single-page indictment does not provide details of the attack, nor did a news release from the US Attorney’s office. It alleges only that Larson assaulted the victim, identified as KH, on Oct 17 in Federal Way “based upon the victim’s actual or perceived race, color and national origin, which include Middle Eastern and Arab descent.” However, state charges that were initially filed in the incident said Larson attacked his Sikh cab driver, beating him savagely and using racially charged language.
The complaint said Larson pulled part of the man’s beard out, which was found by police on the ground. Larson was arrested at the scene of the attack after a witness called 911. Larson has a long history of arrests, including five convictions for drunk driving, and convictions for domestic-violence assault and disorderly conduct, according to the state charges.