Solidarity with our Sikh Neighbors after Bellingham Hate Crime

Man pleads not guilty to allegedly assaulting Sikh Uber driver


WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – A 22-year-old Bellingham man pleaded not guilty to allegedly assaulting an Uber driver who wears a turban and is a follower of the Sikh religion.

The driver is still recovering from the December 5 incident, where court documents say Grifin Sayers allegedly tried to strangle him while making comments about his skin color and the turban he was wearing.

Tons packed a Whatcom County courthouse to show support for the Uber driver, who friends say wasn’t ready to go to court and face Sayers.

Man pleads not guilty to allegedly assaulting Sikh Uber driver (KOMO News)

“It brings up a lot of emotions internally about something that has happened to another community member,” said Jasmit Singh, a founding member of the Sikh Coalition.

Singh says it’s been so difficult for the driver that he hasn’t been back in his car since the attack.

“For him not to be able to get there, I think that really reflects on the kind of effect it has on that person and the family,” Singh said.

It’s why members of the Sikh faith and other religious leaders were in court to show solidarity for this Uber driver.

“When one religious group is being targeted, all of us must stand together,” said Terry Kyllo, a member of Neighbors in Faith.

Sayers’ attorney, Angela Anderson, says she plans on meeting with her client once she reviews police documents to try and develop theories for his case.

“We want to make sure that justice is sought fairly,” Anderson said.

In the meantime, Singh says his focus will be on helping the distraught driver.

“Our hope is that we can go and meet him, talk to him, reassure him and find him the peace that is necessary for him to be able to live a normal life,” Singh said.

KOMO News tried speaking with Sayers following his appearance, but his attorney said she doesn’t want him speaking with the media.

There will be a status hearing for Sayers at the end of January and a jury trial is scheduled for February 24