WHEATON, Ill. — A teenager from Willowbrook is now charged with a hate crime for allegedly beating a Sikh man. The victim also spoke out on Tuesday.
The DuPage County State's Attorney's office says they added the count after they say they discovered additional evidence. The 17 year-old suspect is already charged with Felony Aggravated Battery.
On September 8th, 53 year-old Inderjit Singh Mukker, of Darien, was driving to a store when the suspect allegedly yelled racial slurs at him. Mukker was wearing his turbin at the time.
Prosecutors say the two men pulled to the side of the road. They claim the teenager exited his vehicle, and punched Mukker in the face. Mukker was badly injured, and suffered cuts and bruises.
Police say during the attack, the suspect called Mukker a "terrorist" and "bin Laden," and made references to his national origin.
Community leaders of all faiths condemned the attack. The Sikh Coalition's legal team says it helped the State's Attorney's office identify the 17 year old's motive, and that's what elevated this to a hate crime.
Mukker talked about the attack on Tuesday.
"No Sikh, no American, should ever fear a simple trip to the grocery store. I was attacked because of my brown skin, turbin and a beard. I was assaulted in my car because I am a Sikh," he said.
The Sikh Coalition is pleased that this has been elevated to a hate crime.