Man accused of killing Sikh man Jasmer Singh in NY faces hate crime charges
A man who beat a Sikh man to death in a road rage attack in New York City is now facing hate crime charges. Gilbert Augustin has been accused of killing Jasmer Singh, who was driving his wife home from a doctor's appointment in Kew Gardens, Queens.
While Augustin was initially charged with manslaughter, assault and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, his charges have now been upgraded to include hate crime. The new charges now include “manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime, manslaughter in the first degree, assault in the second degree as a hate crime and assault in the second degree,” according to the Daily Mail. Augustin is being held at Rikers Island prison at present.
Augustin, 30, recently appeared in court for the first time. He was charged in a 20-count indictment.
Queens District Attorney, Melinda Katz said, “This is a case of a fender bender immediately escalating to hateful language and then brutal, deadly violence. We will show in court that it was a rage inflamed by hate that led to this senseless tragedy. The defendant will have to answer to some very serious charges. I want to thank my office and the NYPD for thoroughly investigating this crime.”
Singh, 66, was driving his wife from a doctor's appointment in Kew Gardens in the afternoon of October 19 when he got into a fender-bender before the fatal encounter took place. Augustin, the other driver involved in the incident, was arrested the next day.
A witness said that soon after Singh's Toyota collided with Augustin's Ford Mustang, a male voice said “no police.” As per a criminal complaint, the witness then saw a man approaching Singh's car and snatching a cell phone out of his hand.
Singh then reportedly stepped out of the car and followed Augustin, and after a brief argument, managed to grab his phone and walk back to his car. Augustin then allegedly punched Singh in the head and face three times, and the victim fell to the ground. The court filing said that he suffered a brain injury, according to New York Post. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries the next day.
Singh's family had been seeking hate crime charges against the killer. His son, identified only as Multani, told WCBS that his father suffered a broken skull and was missing two front teeth after the attack. “The guy was addressing my father with his costumes, with his turbans,” Multani said. “There was no reason for someone to go in that intensity. My father was targeted and it is a possible hate crime.” Multani said his father was a “very noble person, a simple person.” Singh was reportedly planning to visit his native India with his wife.
Singh's wife was left with a “terrible impression” after the fight and is traumatised.