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Uber Driver Accuses Passenger Of Pulling Gun On Him.

An Uber driver accused a white male passenger of threatening him with a gun and saying: "I hate turban people."

Gurjeet Singh, an Uber driver, serves as a religious community leader at a Sikh temple in northwest Illinois. Singh's religion requires him to wear a turban and a long beard, which is typical of men belonging to the India-based Sikh faith. Sikh men residing in the United States are frequently (https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/15/us/sikh-hate-crime-victims/index.html) mistaken for Muslims  following the 9/11 attacks, with Singh's apparent encounter with a violent Uber passenger being no different. 

"Mr. Singh faced the assailant while driving for Uber and then notified police the next day about the clear bias-based assault," the Sikh Coalition said in (https://www.sikhcoalition.org/press-release/7197/) a statement . "In the nearly three weeks since, despite repeated outreach by the Sikh Coalition, the suspect remains free."

"While the Rock Island Sheriff's Department has informed the Sikh Coalition that the investigation continues, charges have not yet been submitted to the Rock Island State's Attorney's Office," the religious group added. 

Singh claimed to have picked up two passengers at about 11 p.m. in Moline, Illinois, before driving them to their intended destination, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos said to the (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/02/15/uber-passenger-allegedly-pulled-a-gun-on-sikh-driver-i-hate-turban-people/?utm_term=.ed14832c4719) Washington Post . However, the unidentified male passenger and Singh began to engage in a verbal altercation about where their loyalties are. The exchange escalated further when the rider asked Singh, a legal American citizen that doesn't speak fluent English, where he's from. 

According to the Sikh Coalition, the passenger asked: "What is your status here? Which country do you belong to? Do you serve your country or do you serve our country?" Singh claimed to serve both America and India, however.

This apparently led the rider to put a gun up to Singh's head, saying: "I hate turban people." Singh, therefore, promptly stopped his car. The religious organization claimed that the female rider, who was the male passenger's friend, told her seemingly violent pal to exit the vehicle before requesting for Singh to drive off.   

Uber confirmed to International Business Times that it immediately began investigating the incident after receiving the complaint. The accused passenger was consequently removed from the app as his actions went against the company's (https://www.uber.com/legal/policies/non-discrimination-policy/en/) non-discrimination policy.

"Uber does not tolerate any form of discrimination on the app and we have reached out to the driver-parter to offer our support," an Uber spokesperson told IBT. "We have removed the rider's access to Uber and will fully cooperate with law enforcement on their investigation." 

The delay in charges, however, ignited frustration within organization leaders that "expect" to see charges placed against Singh's apparent attacker.

"The fact that no arrest has been made and hate crime charges have not yet been filed endangers the safety of Mr. Singh and the Quad Cities Sikh community," Amrith Kaur, the Sikh Coalition legal director, said in a (https://www.sikhcoalition.org/press-release/7197/) news release . "The facts of this case are clear."

"We expect the Rock Island County Sheriff's Police Department to arrest Mr. Singh's attacker, and the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office to file hate crime charges immediately," Kaur added.

The Sikh Coalition met with the Sheriff Bustos, who ensured the organization that authorities are (https://www.sikhcoalition.org/press-release/authorities-commit-making-decision-northwest-illinois-hate-crime-case/) committed to making a decision regarding the apparent incident. Investigators are expected to meet with prosecutors Friday to decide whether charges are needed. According to the Washington Post, investigators have already interviewed both passengers and the Singh. 

"We'll make a decision on Friday," Rock Island County State's Attorney John McGehee said Wednesday, according to (http://qctimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/police-look-into-possible-hate-crime/article_e8a9fbcd-d584-542f-b47e-7fe51b31320d.html) Quad-City Times . "The Sheriff's Department has been investigating and has been compiling information."
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Geographic Code:1U3IL
Date:Feb 15, 2018
Words:677
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