Local Sikh man says he was called racial slurs and had a drink thrown on him, BPD investigating

Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-03 21:47:37-04

The Bakersfield Police Department is investigating a possible hate incident after a local Sikh man said he was called racial slurs and had a drink thrown on him.

Balmeet Singh said he and his friends were out to dinner at the Habit Burger on California Ave. on Friday night. Singh decided to step outside of the restaurant to make a phone call and that's when the incident unfolded. 

Singh said in the middle of his conversation a man walked out of Blaze Pizza and headed straight toward him.

“He says you’re trying to blow up this country, I should kill you. I’m going to kill you right now. And he used a lot of curse words and he seemed very angry," said Singh.

He said he yelled back at the man that he was a racist and he was the problem. Singh said the man continued to yell and then threw a drink at him. 

“The drink got all over my destar, my turban, got all over my beard, you know my shirt, my jeans, got all over my phone," said Singh. 

Singh said after that the man started to walk off toward the parking lot. Singh followed the man and was able to get his description, his vehicle's description and a license plate number, which he gave to police. Singh said he never expected anything like that to happen in Bakersfield. 

“Everything I do is here in Kern County and to have someone tell me that I’m trying to blow up the country that I’m going to cause some harm is just very shocking to me.”

He said the worst part of about the incident was that several people saw what happened and no one stepped in to help. 

"Everyone either looked down or looked away. They all pretended like I didn’t exist," said Singh. 

The Bakersfield Police Department confirmed that a report was filed and they are investigating it as a hate incident and Singh hopes the police are able to track down the man. He also hopes that if anyone witnesses something similar, this will teach them to step in and help. 

“They need to be able to step up and say hey if we see hatred in out midst, if we see ignorance, we are going to stand up with love and we are going to stand up and support each other," said Singh.

The are surveillance cameras on the outside of Habit Burger, but it is unknown at this time if it captured the incident. 

Singh said he hopes police are able to catch the man responsible so that it doesn't happen again. 

BPD said they do have a potential suspect, but the incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police at 327-7111.