The January attack of an Indian American Uber driver, who was assaulted by a passenger holding a gun to his head while he spewed hate-filled rhetoric, will take another two weeks to investigate though the suspect is known, according to the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor’s office.
The Sikh Coalition has expressed concern that prosecutors are dragging their feet on the case. "We have repeatedly reached out to Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor’s Office offering our resources and support in (this) case,” Sikh Coalition legal director Amrith Kaur told India-West in an e-mail. “From the beginning we have said this hate crime case is very straightforward and our position on that has not changed,” she said.
Gurjeet Singh, a Sikh priest who wears a turban and beard, was assaulted late night Jan. 28 as he picked up the alleged attacker and his wife from a bar in Moline, Illinois, and prepared to drive them about five miles away to their home. During the ride, the male passenger began peppering Singh with questions about his name, ethnicity, and immigration status.
The suspect also asked Singh: “Do you serve our country or do you serve your country?” Singh said he was confused by the question, but replied that he serves both, as his family lives in India and he continues to help them.
“This pissed him off. He put a gun on my head and said he doesn’t like turbans. I was very nervous. It was late night and there was no one else on the road,” Singh told India-West in an interview in February (see India-West story here).
“I really felt I was going to die that night. I prayed to God to save my life,” he said.
The suspect’s wife intervened.
Illinois State’s Attorney John McGehee recused himself from the case Feb. 16, without providing an explanation. Rock Island County, Illinois Circuit Court Clerk Tammy Weikert then passed the case on to the Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Appellate Prosecutor’s office.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Delfino told India-West March 9 the case was still under investigation and being reviewed. “We should be able to wrap this up in the next 14 days,” he said, adding he could not comment further on why charges have not yet been filed against the suspect, nor on the length of the time being taken on the investigation.