‘F*#@ing Hindu,’ Sand#igger’: Sikh American in California Files Civil Lawsuit Against Sutter County for Refusing to Act Against Hate Crimes
- The legal action comes a year after Rouble Paul Claire was threatened with racial slurs and hateful graffiti at his home.
A year after he was threatened with racial slurs, vehicular violence and hateful graffiti at his home in Sutter, California, Rouble Paul Claire, a first-generation Sikh American, has filed a civil suit against officers of the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), the county, and the individual who intimidated him.
A press release issued by The Sikh Coalition, who is representing Claire, said the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO) “refused to act,” after the local sheriff’s office recommended charges after taking months to investigate. Claire immediately notified the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office after months of delay and inaction, the Coalition said, after which he retained them for free legal help in October 2021.
The Coalition said Claire was accosted by a woman in his neighborhood at a local grocery store on May 11, 2021. The woman shouted and cursed at him, calling him a “f*cking Hindu.” She also threatened to “ram” him with her car, after which she got in her car and sped towards him in a parking lot, “only swerving away at the last moment.” Later that day, another woman connected to the assailant in the first incident wrote the word “sandn*gger” in chalk on the sidewalk outside Claire’s house and in his driveway, and called him “n*gger” when he went outside, the Coalition said.
In the press release, Claire noted how no one has been held accountable after “almost a full year” after he was subjected to threats, harassment, and racial slurs, no one has been held accountable. “For months after immediately reporting these hateful acts, I sat in silence waiting for action that never came. I did not want to have to take legal action against anyone, but I believe that this failure of justice is unacceptable: No one in our community should have to face this kind of hate and bigotry.”
The nonprofit emphasized that “despite repeatedly appealing to the SCSO for help, Claire received little aid.” However, “one deputy who responded to the chalking incident used his own water bottle in an attempt to wash away the evidence before taking photos for the office; while another advised him not to drive on his own street to avoid any confrontation,” the Coalition noted.
“Claire’s requests for action, charges, or even a police report documenting the incidents suffered delays or were completely ignored,” it said, adding that “the investigation essentially began anew” when it engaged the SCSO. “It then that it finally recommended charges against the woman who threatened Claire, at the grocery store, but the SCDAO declined to bring those charges because of the time that had passed.”
The Sikh Coalition is calling on the SCDAO to bring charges of criminal threats, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and any other appropriate charges against the woman who initially threatened Claire with her car.
Meanwhile, the Coalition posted an update regarding the case on its Facebook page. It includes a statement from the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office saying that it didn’t receive Claire’s case from the sheriff’s office. “Should all evidence be submitted to the District Attorney’s office, we will conduct a new review and analysis of the facts and make a filing decision. The statute of limitations for the requested charge is three years,” read the statement.
In response, the nonprofit disagreed with the assertion that the civil documents have new evidence that the attorney’s office wasn’t aware of. “This information has been presented to the SCADO repeatedly, and is simply made aware to the public for the first time,” the Coalition said.
Noting that they are “glad to hear that SCADO is now committed to reconsidering this case in the light of all the facts, the Coalition said they “are eager to engage with them directly; as justice for Claire has been too long delayed.”
(Top photo, The Sikh Coalition)