Man admits to beating of taxi driver in racially motivated attack

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Taxi cab signSEATTLE — A 49-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal hate crime for assaulting a 50-year-old Sikh taxi cab driver from India.

Jamie Larson pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act that was enacted in October 2009.

“The indictment alleges that on Oct. 17, 2012, Larson assaulted the victim … based upon the victim’s actual and perceived race, color and national origin, which included Middle Eastern and Arab descent,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. “The defendant was arrested at the scene of the attack after a witness called 911.”

Court documents said that when the driver dropped off Larsen in Federal Way, the driver got out of the cab and Larsen attacked him, grabbing his beard, pulling him to the ground, and punching and stomping his head and body.

“Larson uttered racial slurs and insults about the victim’s perceived ancestry during the attack,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “The victim suffered damage to his back, shoulder and kidney.  He was hospitalized for more than a week and has undergone lengthy physical therapy.”

The victim was hospitalized for more than a week and underwent lengthy physical therapy.

Larsen faces up to 10 years in prison.  Sentencing is scheduled for November.

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