NBC 4 New York
Police are investigating whether an attack on a Columbia professor by a group of teens in Harlem was a hate crime, and have released surveillance video of the teens suspected in the assault. Brynn Gingras reports.
A Columbia professor who wrote a New York Times op-ed last year about hate crimes against American Sikhs was attacked by a group of teens over the weekend, law enforcement officials tell NBC 4 New York.
Prabhjot Singh, a Sikh and an assistant professor at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, said he was walking on 110th Street and Lenox Avenue at around 8 p.m. Saturday when he was confronted by more than a dozen teens on bicycles who shouted slurs before attacking him.
"I heard 'Get Osama' and then 'terrorists,' and then the next thing I felt was someone moving past me, ripping at my beard and then hitting me in the chin," Singh told NBC 4 New York.
Singh said he started running and was punched in the face and in his sides. His attackers continued to kick and punch him after he fell to the ground, he said.
Singh was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital Saturday and had surgery on his jaw, which was fractured.
Singh believes he could have died if passersby hadn't helped get the teens off him.
"There's no doubt in my mind it was a bias-related event," he said.
The attack, he says, makes him worry that his 1-year-old son, "who will certainly resemble a Sikh man," will face similar hatred as he gets older.
"My fear is that they'll disappear into the neighborhood," he said of the assailants, adding that he hopes the community mobilizes to prevent similar attacks.
More New York-Area Stories: