Attack on Sikh man charged as hate crime

April 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

SEATTLE, April 2 (UPI) -- A Seattle-area man who allegedly beat a Sikh taxi driver has been charged with a federal hate crime, U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday.

Jamie Larson, 49, of Federal Way was scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate Tuesday afternoon, SeattlePI.com reported. A U.S. grand jury handed up an indictment last week.

Larson, who was originally charged in state court, was arrested at the scene of the attack on Oct. 17, 2012. Witnesses said he made a remark about the victim's turban and then, apparently believing him to be a Muslim, savagely assaulted him.

Police said hairs in the victim's beard were ripped from his skin and one of his teeth loosened.

Jennie Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington, said Larson could be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison if he is convicted.

"Attacks such as this one, based on prejudice and racial hate, are contrary to who we are and violate the law," Durkan said in a statement. "Protecting the civil rights of all the members of our community is a top priority for our office."

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