May 31, 2022 (Sutter, CA) – Today, 12 advocacy, civil rights, community, legal, and faith-based organizations joined the Sikh Coalition to send a letter to Sutter County District Attorney Amanda Hopper urging her to take action by pressing charges against the aggressor who threatened, berated, and endangered the life of Mr. Rouble Paul Claire, a Sikh member of the Sutter community, in May of 2021.
In the letter, the organizations write:
“Our organizations have seen firsthand how these kinds of threats, fueled by bigotry, can escalate into even worse violence if left ignored and unchecked. Mr. Claire deserves to know that Sutter County will not tolerate this type of criminal action and racist abuse directed at him or any other minority living in your community. As the District Attorney, you have both the power and the responsibility to begin to make this right by charging the woman who threatened and berated Mr. Claire with all applicable charges, including those involving bias. We urge you to act immediately.”
As a reminder, on May 11, 2021, Mr. Claire was accosted by a woman at South Butte Market, a local grocery store. The woman shouted at Mr. Claire–including by calling him a “F*cking Hindu”–threatened to “ram” him with her car, and then got in her car and sped towards him, only swerving away at the last moment. Then, later that day, another individual connected to the woman in the first incident wrote the word “SAND N*GGER” in chalk on the sidewalk outside Mr. Claire’s house and in his driveway, and called him “n*gger” when he went outside. The Sutter County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) took months to investigate Mr. Claire’s case; when they ultimately did so, and recommended charges against the woman involved in the grocery store incident, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office refused to bring those charges.
“The SCSO’s failure to present all of the evidence and recommend the appropriate charges in a timely manner have caused this delay of justice,” said Amrith Kaur Aakre (she/her), Sikh Coalition Legal Director. “Thankfully, District Attorney Hopper has previously stated that she is willing to ‘conduct a new review and legal analysis of the facts and make a filing decision’ in this case. The Sikh Coalition and these 12 other California organizations are now urging her to make good on her word and provide Mr. Claire the accountability and transparency he deserves.”
Mr. Claire is also pursuing a civil suit against officers of the SCSO, Sutter County, and the individual who threatened him. Attorneys Gina Szeto-Wong, Principal Attorney of Szeto-Wong Law, and Sean Tamura-Sato, Managing Partner of Minami Tamaki LLP, are representing Mr. Claire in the civil case. While the Sikh Coalition is not representing Mr. Claire in his civil litigation, we support his efforts to achieve some measure of justice in any way he can.
If you have additional questions about this case, Mr. Claire’s ongoing fight for justice, or the work of the Sikh Coalition to provide pro bono legal aid to Sikhs who face bias, bigotry, and backlash, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.