The 66-year-old Sikh man killed in a Queens road-rage incident was not the victim of a hate crime, police said Tuesday.
Jasmer Singh died a day after he rear-ended Gilbert Augustin’s Ford Mustang on the Van Wyck Expressway near Hillside Ave. in Kew Gardens on Thursday afternoon, according to cops.
Both Augustin’s car and Singh’s blue Toyota had dents and scratches, but no one was injured in the crash.
After an argument, Augustin, 30, repeatedly punched Singh in the face. The older man fell to the ground, suffering a brain injury as his head hit the pavement.
Medics rushed Singh to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in critical condition, but he could not be saved.
“100% not a hate crime,” Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said at a news briefing, adding that Augustin “never indicated that the assault stemmed from the nationality or race.”
On Sunday, Mayor Adams condemned the “hatred that took this innocent life” on social media and noted his team would be meeting with the Sikh community in light of Singh’s death.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force was never investigating the deadly assault, police said.
A City Hall spokesperson deferred comment to the NYPD, noting the mayor’s office was not privy to any information regarding Singh’s death beyond what the police department shared with them.
Singh’s family previously arranged a meeting with Adams on Monday evening in which they planned to push for hate crime charges against Augustin, who was charged with manslaughter and assault, among other lesser charges. The meeting didn’t happen since Singh’s widow wasn’t feeling well, according to his son, who goes by Mr. Multani.
He insists the incident was a hate crime.
“The intensity of the attack and the circumstances, it is a hate crime,” he told the Daily News on Tuesday.
“She was right there in the car. She was the witness,” Multani said of his mother. “(Augustin) commented on his turban. She’s not fluent in English, but she heard the word turban.”
Also calling for hate crime charges is the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“We urge law enforcement authorities to thoroughly investigate whether there was a bias motive for this horrific crime and to bring appropriate charges based on the results of that investigation,” CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said Tuesday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the Singh family and the Sikh community of New York City.”