Louisiana Man Arrested Over Driving Car into Store Owned by Sikhs
The suspect was identified as Chad Horsley, a former Reserve with East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office.
A man was arrested for hate crime in Livingston Parish in Louisiana, United States, last week after he allegedly drove his car into a convenience store owned by a Sikh individual. The accused, identified as Chad Horsley, thought the store, called Best Stop, was owned by Muslims.
The store owner and the nephew of the owner are rattled by the incident. “We never thought anything like that, because everybody comes in, and they are nice,” said Harjot Singh, a nephew of the owner, according to the Advocate. “This was the first ever incident to happen like that.”
The sheriff’s office posted surveillance footage on Feb. 27 to identify an individual who came to the convenience store and claimed to be a law enforcement personnel.
“He said he suspected drug activity and would return to the store to do a search. He left in a white pick-up truck. We did not believe that he had any current ties to law enforcement. On March 3, 2018, we received a call from a witness. The witness tells us that a man in a white truck drove into this same convenience store. We also learned from this witness that the driver of that pick-up took the store’s ATM machine. When the witness attempted to intervene, the suspect produced a handgun and fled the scene,” Sheriff Jason Ard said.
The suspect was identified as Chad Horsley, a former Reserve with East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO), who isn’t connected to the sheriff’s office anymore.
“He talked to deputies, but his version of events did not match up to surveillance footage and witness statements. For one, he told deputies that he was a Sheriff’s Deputy and produced an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office commission card,” the statement said. “Horsely did admit to us that he purposely caused damage to the store. According to Horsely, he was under the impression the owners were Muslim. He blamed Muslims for killing his fellow service members overseas. He was also upset that Muslims, in his mind, were having an easier time prospering than he was despite his time in the service,” it added.
Singh said, “Even if it was Muslims, he shouldn’t have done that thing.” Singh immigrated to the United States from India two years ago. “We’re just trying to make a living out of here, that’s all we’re doing,” he said, adding that many people came to the store to express their sympathies.
The white pick-up used to ram into the store was located at Horsley’s home garage. The license plate had been removed and the damage was estimated to be around $4,000. He was booked for hate crimes, simple criminal damage to property, criminal mischief, and impersonation of a peace officer. His bond was set at $56,000.
This is not the first time that Sikhs were misidentified as Muslims in the United States. Last month, a gas station and a convenience store owned by an Indian American Sikh man in Kentucky were vandalized by a miscreant wearing a ski mask. The culprit spray-painted “white power,” swastikas and other racial slurs as well as crude markings that said “leave.”
In 2017, the Sikh groups in the United States also started a campaign to educate Americans about their religion. Sikhs are misidentified as Muslims because of their turbans and beards. Especially in post-9/11 United States, they have faced more racism.
“We have brought a very scientific and targeted messaging element to the campaign. Our focus is to build a proactive and positive message and try to educate and inform Americans about the positive contributions the Sikhs have been making in America,” Rajwant Singh, the co-founder and senior advisor of the National Sikh Campaign, had said in 2017.