ADL Welcomes Guilty Plea in Federal Hate Crime Attack on Sikh Man

Seattle, WA, June 28, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today commended the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, Jenny Durkin, the FBI and the Federal Way Police Department for their vigorous investigation of the racially motivated assault of a 50-year-old Sikh man who works as a taxi cab driver.

Jamie Larson, 49, of Federal Way, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA).

According to court documents, Larson asked the victim to drive him to an address in Federal Way, Washington. Upon arriving at their destination, both men exited the taxi. Larson then brutally attacked the victim while hurling racial slurs. As a result, the victim suffered physical injury and was hospitalized for more than one week.

“Heinous, senseless crimes like this sadly confirm our need for the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act in our enduring fight against violent bigotry,” said Hilary Bernstein, ADL Pacific Northwest Regional Director. “This investigation illustrates the federal government’s fierce commitment not only to identifying and prosecuting hate crimes but also to sending the message that there is no place for assaults based on race and ethnicity in our society.”

ADL played a central role in coordinating advocacy efforts for more than a decade in order to ensure the enactment of the HCPA.  Most recently, the League successfully helped lead a coalition of civil rights, religious, education, civic and professional organizations urging the FBI to collect separate data on hate crimes directed against Sikhs, Arabs and Hindus as part of the Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990 data collection programs. The resulting mandate to collect specific data on hate crimes directed against individuals on the basis of these personal characteristics may increase public awareness of these crimes, encourage victims to report these crimes, and expand existing engagement and relationships between law enforcement authorities and the communities they serve.

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