The police chief of Union City, California, announced Wednesday that his teenage son was one of the suspects in the Monday assault of an elderly Sikh man in nearby Manteca that sparked outrage from the Sikh community and led to calls for a hate crime investigation.
Around 6 a.m. Monday, Sahib Singh Natt was out for a walk in his neighborhood. According to a surveillance video, two young men approached Natt, and one of them kicked the 71-year-old, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the pavement. Natt tried to get up, but the assailants knocked him back onto the ground. With Natt lying motionless on the street, the two young men started to retreat, but one ran back to the man and kicked him and spat on him before fleeing. Natt, who does not speak English, was hospitalized after the attack; he has since been released.
The video of the unprovoked assault made waves on social media this week. The incident came on the heels of a July 31 assault in nearby Keyes, California, in which a Sikh man was viciously beaten and had his truck spray-painted with a neo-Nazi symbol. That case is being investigated as a hate crime.
The two attacks on Sikh men in Northern California have rattled the community. Approximately 200 Manteca residents attended a rally at the park where Natt was assaulted. Sikh residents of Union City, approximately 60 miles west of Manteca, also came to a National Night Out event on Tuesday in which they spoke about the incident and asked Union City Police Chief Darryl McAllister what steps could be taken to prevent a similar attack in their own city.
Hours after the community discussion, McAllister received a call from Manteca police informing him that one suspect in the Manteca attack was his 18-year-old son, Tyrone. McAllister and his wife worked with Manteca police to help find and arrest their son, who has been estranged from his family for several months.
In a lengthy post on the Union City Police Department’s Facebook page, Chief McAllister announced his son’s involvement in the assault and expressed his deep pain over the situation.
“Words can barely describe how embarrassed, dejected, and hurt my wife, daughters, and I feel right now,” McAllister wrote. “Violence and hatred [are] not what we have taught our children; intolerance for others is not even in our vocabulary, let alone our values.”
McAllister explained in the post that his son “began to lose his way” when he was a juvenile and that he had gotten involved with “a bad crowd” in recent years. “My family is shaken to the core. … We simply don’t know why, or how we got here,” the police chief wrote.
Many local community members praised Chief McAllister for his honesty and professed commitment to supporting the Sikh community. Tyrone McAllister was arrested along with a 16-year-old on a string of charges for the assault on Natt, including attempted robbery and elder abuse. According to a press release, the Manteca police are also investigating whether the case fits all the legal criteria of a hate crime.