Sikh American Veteran Assaulted by Police Officer in Illinois

April 11th, 2007

SALDEF calls for immediate probe into assault and the xenophobic, anti-immigrant statements by police officer against bronze star recipient

Washington D.C., April 11, 2007 — The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization in the country, today called upon the Joliet Police Department to investigate the actions of one of its officers when patrolling a local neighborhood.

On Friday March 30, 2007 at around 3:00pm, Mr. Kuldip Singh Nag, a Sikh American who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Navy during the first Gulf War, was at his home in Joliet, IL when a local police officer noticed that a van parked on Mr. Nag’s private property had expired registration tags. Upon being confronted with this, Mr. Nag’s wife, Vera Kaur Nag, informed the officer that the van is parked on their driveway and was inoperable.

Mr. Nag then came outside to answer the officer’s questions regarding the van. The Joliet police officer then demanded that Mr. Nag park the van inside his garage and not on the driveway, to which Mr. Nag responded to the officer that it was not possible and that regardless, the van is parked on his private property and he has a right to park it on his driveway.

At this moment, the officer pulled out his pepper spray and attacked Mr. Nag. As Mr. Nag screamed in agony, the officer removed his baton and violently struck Mr. Nag numerous times until he fell to the ground. While the assault ensued, the officer was reported by both Mr. and Mrs. Nag as saying, “You f****** Arab! You f***** immigrant, go back to you f****** country before I kill you!”

Mr. Nag’s wife and six year-old child both witnessed the violent assault, which resulted in Mr. Nag immediately being admitted to the hospital where he stayed for five days due to complaints of intense pain and head trauma. Mr. Nag also received numerous bruises and a serious head injury which have caused him to go blind for several minutes at a time

“This case seems to be a clear incident of police misconduct in Illinois,” said SALDEF Managing Director Kavneet Singh. “We are horrified at the anti-immigrant sentiment the officer allegedly used as he violently accosted Mr. Nag, and further that his six year old son was a witness to this violent assault. We call upon both Joliet and Illinois officials to investigate this incident and for the Illinois community to stand in solidarity with Mr. Nag.”

SALDEF has garnered the strong support of the Illinois Sikh American community and is currently working with The Chawla Group Ltd to represent Mr. Nag in a criminal case brought on by the City of Joliet.

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