Crime & Justice

Hate crime alleged in Inglewood assault of Sikh bus driver

File: A Los Angeles Metro bus.
File: A Los Angeles Metro bus.
LA Metro

Prosecutors filed a hate crime allegation against a man accused of attacking a Sikh bus driver wearing a turban in Inglewood, officials said Wednesday.

Balwinder Jit Singh says a passenger beat him while calling him a terrorist and a suicide bomber last year in Inglewood.

K.C. Tard Jr. has been charged with felony battery on transit personnel with the allegation that it was a hate crime, according to Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for Los Angeles County prosecutors.

Arraignment for the 34-year-old Tard is scheduled for Wednesday. An attorney for Tard could not be located.

Singh, 56, says he had just pulled over a Metro bus he was driving Nov. 6 when the assault occurred.

A workplace-incident report provided to The Associated Press in January shows that Singh told his employer on the day of the attack that the passenger had called him a terrorist and was driving the bus with a bomb on board.

In December, the White House convened meetings of Muslim and Sikh leaders to discuss an increase in hate crimes against their houses of worship and individual members of their faiths,

The meetings came in the wake of Islamic-extremist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California. Sikhs, who wear turbans, are often mistaken for Muslims.