FILE – This undated file photo released by Marion County Sheriff’s Department shows Andrew Ramsey. He was sentenced to three years conditionally for the attack of a Sikh shopkeeper in Salem, Oregon, in addition to the requirement to learn about the Sikh religion and the making of a report. The Sikh Coalition, which is represented hatred of victims of crime in the United States, said Ramsey was sentenced Friday, May 24, after pleading guilty to harassment in the second degree and assault in the fourth degree in the Jan. 14 attack of Harwinder Singh Dodd. (Marion County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)
SALEM, Ore. – A judge on Friday ordered Oregon man to learn more about the Sikh religion and to submit a report to the court as part of his sentence for an attack on a Sikh shopkeeper in Salem, a civil rights group said.
Andrew Ramsey pled guilty to the felony counts of intimidation and violence in the Jan. 14 incident targeting Harwinder Singh Dodd, the Sikh Coalition, the largest Sikh civil rights organization in the U.S., said in a press release.
The Harassment count is considered to be a hate crime, it said.
Witnesses said Ramsey pulled on Dodd’s beard, after he refused to sell him cigarettes without an ID, slapped him and pulled him to the ground. Bystanders stopped Ramsey until the police arrived.
Dodd, who came to the U.S. from India and is the owner of the supermarket, stated in a written statement to the court that hate crimes are on the rise in America. The FBI says hate crimes increased with 40 percent in Oregon from 2016 to 2017.
“He didn’t see me as a person,” said Dodd of Ramsey. “He struck me by how I look. Because of my turban and beard — my religious articles of faith.”
The police said Ramsey also threw his shoe at Dodd and seized his turban. Sikh men do not cut their hair and cover it with a turban for religious reasons.
Marion County Judge Lindsay ridge ordered Ramsey to attend the annual Sikh parade in June in Salem and report to the court what he learned about the Sikh community and culture, the Statesman Journal newspaper of Salem reported.
“Intolerance is the result of ignorance,” said ridge. “We are all able to learn and benefit from cultures in our community.”
He is also sentenced Ramsey to three years conditionally, and 180 days in jail, with credit for time served, the newspaper said.
ridge said mandatory drug, alcohol and mental health care is the best option for Ramsey, that convictions for methamphetamine possession, domestic violence, assault, and theft.
Ramsey said he has had psychological problems all his life and was ready to accept help, the newspaper said.
In 2018, members of Salem’s Sikh community together with other volunteers to help 124 immigrants — many of them Sikhs — who are sent to a federal prison near Sheridan by the Trump administration.
The Sikh temple in Salem offered the asylum seekers, religious and other services and a place to recover after they were released from months of confinement.
Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter https://twitter.com/andrewselsky