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USA Federal Way Man Sentenced For Hate-crime Beating Of Sikh Cab Driver


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Federal Way man sentenced for hate-crime beating of Sikh cab driver


A Federal Way man was sentenced Tuesday morning in U.S. District Court to 40 months in prison for savagely beating a Sikh cab driver while making racist statements about Muslims.

Jamie Larson, 50, was originally charged with malicious harassment in King County Superior Court, but the case was turned over to federal prosecutors in March because the federal hate crime law carries a longer possible sentence of up to 10 years.

Larson pleaded guilty June 27 in U.S. District Court to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The law criminalizes acts of physical violence that cause bodily injury and are motivated by race, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

During Tuesday’s sentencing, U.S. District Judge John Coughenour called Larson’s racist comments to the cab driver “some of the most disgusting, ugly and racist language I’ve heard in my 32 years on the bench."

The assault occurred Oct. 17, 2012, in the 1200 block of Southwest 301st Street in Federal Way. Auburn police had asked the taxi driver to take Larson to Federal Way because he was too intoxicated to walk or drive.

The taxi driver, an immigrant from India, said Larson began commenting on the turban he wore as part of his Sikhism religion, according to charing documents. Larson began assaulting the taxi driver and making comments regarding his religion and ethnicity, according to a police report.

Larson punched the taxi driver repeatedly in the body and face, and caused one of his teeth to become loose, according to the report. Larson also ripped part of the cab driver’s beard off his face. The piece of beard was found at the scene.

The victim was wearing a turban, kirpana, kara and Kanga, which are all items related to his Sikhism religion. The victim believed he was assaulted because the suspect thought he was a Muslim, according to the police report.

The victim suffered injuries to his back, shoulder and kidney. He was hospitalized for more than a week and has undergone lengthy physical therapy.

Larson also told an officer at the scene that “We have Americans fighting overseas in his country and why doesn’t he go back to there.”

Larson’s criminal history includes 19 bookings since 1986, along with 34 warrants. Past charges include disorderly conduct, assault, DUI, attempting to elude police, domestic violence assault, malicious mischief and marijuana possession.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Related story
Washington, Dec 11 (IANS) An American man accused of viciously beating a Sikh cab driver while shouting anti-Muslim slurs in Washington state last year has been sentenced to 40 months in prison for a federal hate crime.

Prosecutors had asked for a four-year term for 50-year-old Jamie W. Larson of Federal Way city in the north western state while his defence lawyer had recommended a two-and-a-half-year term at Tuesday’s sentencing in Seattle.

Sentencing Larson for the attack on taxi driver Kashmira Hothi, an immigrant from India, US District Judge John Coughenour called his conduct “absolutely unacceptable”.
- See more at: http://www.canindia.com/2013/12/40-...r-of-us-sikh-cab-driver/#sthash.4WMh2qV2.dpuf

In letter to the court, Larson asked "What is wrong with me?" Additional and harrowing details of the crime and sentencing

For his part, Larson penned a lengthy apology in a letter to the court.

“It’s a terribly feeling to awaken in jail and find out someone was in the hospital because of your actions,” Larson said in a letter to U.S. District Judge John Coughenour, who will sentence his Tuesday.

“Words,” Larson continued, “cannot express my sorrow and remorse.”

Larson, through his attorney, had asked that he be sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison. Claiming he was in an alcohol-induced blackout when he attacked the driver, Larson has apologized for his conduct and sworn to finally stop drinking.

The afternoon attack came after Auburn police found Larson sitting in shrubbery near a Fred Meyer store. The officer called a cab to pick up Larson, who was apparently too drunk to see himself home.

The STITA Taxi driver retrieved Larson and, at the man’s direction, drove him to a Federal Way home. Arriving in the 1200 block of Southwest 301st Street, Larson refused to get out of the car.

The driver was speaking with a resident of the home – it turned out Larson wasn’t welcome there – when Larson attacked him from behind. Pulling at the man’s beard, Larson pummeled him while shouting anti-Muslim slurs and deriding the driver for moving to the United States.



Aug 13, 2012
It's always painful and saddening to read of such attacks.

However, I always wonder the same thing: the Sikh was wearing his kirpan, why didn't he try to use it to defend himself? After all, if there was ever a time to use it, that was it. Perhaps it was a very sudden attack and he was caught unaware, or perhaps he didn't have enough time.

And that also raises another point. Nearly all of the kirpans I've seen coming from India are very flimsy, made of a thin strip of metal with a very dull blade. A butter knife would be more effective. I'm sure that is not what the 10th King had in mind.

The other issue is how to use the kirpan. Anyone can brandish a weapon, but if you're trained in martial arts, you will know how to disarm someone coming at you with a weapon. Perhaps it is incumbent upon all Sikhs to learn martial arts. I keep remembering the following story written by Macauliffe in "The Sikh Religion, Vol 5". Amazing how relevant it is even today:

Zabardast Khan, the Viceroy of Lahore, plundered a party of Sikhs who were going to make offerings to the Guru. Wazir Khan, the viceroy of Sarhind, plundered another party going on the same errand. The Guru then repeated his exhortation to his Sikhs to wear arms and diligently practice their use. In the early days of Sikhism it was different. At that time the Guru's teaching was to remember the true Name and not annoy anybody. Farid said, 'If any one strike thee with his fists, strike him not back.' With such teaching, the Guru said, the Sikhs had become faint-hearted and ever suffered defeat. Now that the times had altered, and the Sikhs were obliged to defend themselves, he had established the Khalsa, and whoever desired to abide in it should not fear the clash of arms, but be ever ready for the combat and the defence of his faith. At the same time the Name was still to remain the chief object of the Sikhs' adoration.
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