PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man who attacked a Sikh man working at a convenience store in Salem was sentenced to 36 months probation for the January 14, 2019, incident.
Andrew Ramsey, 24, pleaded guilty to 2nd-degree intimidation and 4th-degree assault after beating Harwinder Dodd, who wears a turban and uncut beard as a sign of his faith.
Ramsey got angry when Dodd would not sell him cigarettes without and ID, so he grabbed Dodd’s beard and ripped off his turban.
Bystanders pulled Ramsey off Dodd and held him until police arrived and arrested him.
Dodd wrote a victim impact statement that was read in court, which said he came to America from India for a better life. He wrote that he works long, hard days to support his family, including a daughter in college.
“He ripped my turban off my head. He pulled my beard. He spat on me. He punched me. He kicked me. He attacked me because of how I look. Because of my turban and beard -my religious articles of faith. He tried to take away my identity,” Dodd wrote. “My turban is a part of my body. When I tie my turban every morning, I tie it with love and care. I never let it touch the floor. I don’t touch it with dirty hands. I don’t let people touch my turban. When I tie my turban, it goes from being a piece of cloth to becoming my crown and my identity. Removing my turban is one of the worst, most degrading things that could have happened to me.”
The Sikh Coalition said in addition to the probation and drug treatment, Ramsey will be required to learn about Sikhism and report what he learned to the court.
The Coalition thanked the court for investigating the attack as a hate crime.