Seattle: Anti-Muslim bigot beat Sikh cab driver
By LEVI PULKKINEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
A Federal Way man accused of viciously beating a Sikh cab driver while shouting anti-Muslim slurs now faces a hate crime charge.
King County prosecutors contend Jamie W. Larson attacked the cab driver during an Oct. 17 ride after commenting on the man’s turban. According to charging documents, Larson, 48, tore out chunks of the man’s beard during the assault, which also loosened one of the driver’s teeth.
“Two witnesses saw the attack which was described as savage, and the defendant continued his tirade after officers arrived,” Deputy Prosecutor Gretchen Holmgren told the court, noting that the cab driver was taken to a hospital following the 4:30 p.m. attack.
The afternoon attack came after Auburn police called a cab to pick up Larson, who was apparently too intoxicated to drive or walk.
According to charging documents, the STITA Taxi driver arrived at the Auburn police station to retrieve Larson. During the drive to Larson’s Federal Way home, Larson began questioning the driver about his turban.
Larson then attacked the driver while making anti-Muslim comments, a Federal Way detective told the court. The driver was able to stop the car in the 1200 block of Southwest 301st Street, where police found him injured and Larson attempting to return to the parked taxi.
During the attack, Larson pulled out parts of the driver’s beard and punched him repeatedly, according to charging documents. Police report the attack left the driver dazed and with a loose tooth.
Even after police arrived, Larson continued making bigoted comments about the driver, an immigrant from India. According to police, Larson referred to him derisively as Iranian and Iraqi, and used several anti-Arab slurs before also using an anti-gay slur.
“We have Americans fighting overseas in his country and why doesn’t he go back to there?” Larson allegedly asked officers at the scene.
Writing the court, the Federal Way detective noted Larson’s comments were not only hateful but based on his misperception of the driver’s heritage.
“Officers noted that (the driver), a follower of the Sikhism religion, wore a turban headdress, kirpana, kara and a Kanga; items that symbolize (his) religion,” the detective told the court.
Larson was arrested at the scene and has since been charged with malicious harassment under Washington’s hate crime statute. He remains jailed on $60,000 bail.
Original post: Police: Anti-Muslim bigot beat Sikh cab driver