A 20-year-old man was arrested Friday night in connection with an attack on Columbia University professor Prabhjot Singh, 31, on September 21, 2013, police said.
Christian Morales was arrested at 11:10 p.m. on Friday, and was charged with “aggravated harassment and committing a hate crime at a court appearance Saturday.” The investigation is currently still ongoing, and he’s the only person in custody, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
“The suspect was reportedly part of a group that allegedly called Dr. Prabhjot Singh ‘Osama’ and a ‘terrorist;’ punched him in the face and head, kicked him and pulled his long beard.” “While being attacked, he saw one of the assailants put his arm inside his coat as if reaching for a gun. “
Singh had been approached by the group of 12-15 men when he was walking home in upper Manhattan.
The professor had suffered swelling, severe bruising, a small puncture in the elbow, injuries to his face and a fractured lower jaw following the brutal assault, according to NY Daily News.
Singh had said he would want his attackers to pay a visit to the Gurdwara and talk with members of the community to better understand the Sikh faith.
“If I could speak to my attackers, I would ask them if they had any questions, if they knew what they were doing. Maybe invite them to the Gurdwara where we worship, get to know who we are… Make sure they have an opportunity to move past this as well,” Singh had said.
In 2012, he had written an op-ed titled “How Hate Gets Counted,” and in it he wrote, “We must do away with a flawed and incomplete assumption of ‘mistaken identity’ regarding Sikhs; until we do, we will all be the ones who are mistaken.”