Suburban Teen Charged With Hate Crime in ‘Road Rage' Beating of Sikh Man

A suburban teen accused of brutally beating a father of two in an alleged "road rage" incident has been charged with a hate crime, officials announced Tuesday.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said an amended juvenile petition was filed to include the Class 4 felony after additional evidence was discovered surrounding the violent attack.

On Friday, Berlin announced that aggravated battery charges had been filed against the teen, sparking outrage from a Sikh organization that claimed the incident was a hate crime.

Police said the incident happened just after 5 p.m. last Tuesday near Cass and 69th Street in Willowbrook. A man was found in the driver's seat of a vehicle with "apparent cuts and bruises on his cheeks."

Police said the man and a teen were involved in a "road rage" incident and after both vehicles pulled over, the teen punched the driver in the face and fled the scene.

Prosecutors allege that the the teen "instigated" the road rage incident by "yelling racial slurs" at the driver.

The Sikh Coalition had earlier claimed the teen called Sikh American Inderjit Mukker, a cab driver and father of two, a "terrorist," and "Bin Laden" before he "began beating and punching him in the face ferociously."

The teen is also accused of punching a police officer in the face as he was being arrested.

"Crimes based on hatred or prejudices have no place in our society," Berlin said in a statement. "Any physical attack motivated in whole or in part by an offender's pre-conceived bias against another individual based on race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation is a crime not only against the victim but against society as a whole. Anyone accused of such behavior will be vigorously prosecuted and held accountable for their actions."

Family members of Mukker called the incident "frightening."

"It's very frightening he had broken cheek bones," Mukker's father, Sadhu Singh Rihiraj, said. "He couldn't see anything."

Sikh Coalition Legal Director Harsimran Kaur said Mukker was likely targeted because he was wearing articles of his faith.

The teen is not being identified as he is a juvenile. Information on an attorney for the teen was not immediately available.

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