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June 27, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Local man pleads guilty to hate crime after assaulting Sikh taxi driver

A 49-year-old Federal Way man pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to a hate-crime for a drunken assault on a Sikh cab driver last October.

According to the documents filed in U.S. District Court, Jamie Larson said the attack was partly motivated by the driver’s turban.

Larson had taken the cab to a Federal Way address on Oct. 17, 2012. When the driver, Kashmira Hothi, got out, Larson grabbed the man’s beard, threw him to the ground and stomped on him, prosecutors said.

The victim lost a tooth, chunks of his beard and was hospitalized for more than a week with injuries to his back, shoulder and kidney, prosecutors said.

Larson pleaded guilty to one count of violating the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that criminalized injurious physical violence motivated by race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

“This case is a testament to the Justice Department’s dedication to vigorously investigate and prosecute all racially-motivated attacks,” said Roy L. Austin Jr., Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It is unacceptable that violent acts of hate committed because of someone’s race and ethnicity continue to occur, and the department will continue to use every available tool to identify and prosecute hate crimes whenever and wherever they occur.”

Larson is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on Nov. 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: assault, hate-crime, U.S. Attorney

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