Civil Rights Injunction Granted Against Man Who Attacked Sikh

August 1, 2006

Source: Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund

On August 1, 2006 the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund reported, "A Middlesex Superior Court judge has awarded a civil rights injunction against a Billerica man accused of a racially-motivated attack on a Sikh man, Attorney General Tom Reilly announced today.

The order, granted today by Middlesex Superior Court Judge MacLeod-Mancuso, prohibits Joseph Fay from threatening, intimidating or coercing the victim or anyone else in the Commonwealth on the basis of actual or perceived race or ethnicity. A violation of the injunction is a criminal offense punishable by up to 10 years in State Prison.

AG Reilly's lawsuit and his request for a court order stem from Fay's attack on a Sikh store clerk outside of a convenience store in Billerica on May 26.

According to AG Reilly's complaint, Fay began harassing the victim inside the convenience store and then attacked him outside the store, while using racial and ethnic slurs. Fay telephoned the store after the attack and threatened the victim that he would be sorry for calling the Billerica Police. According to AG Reilly's complaint, Fay also telephoned the Billerica Police department and used racial epithets while referring to the victim.

AG Reilly is alleging that Fay violated the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA), commonly referred to as the hate crimes statute, that protects the rights of all citizens and visitors to Massachusetts. Under the MCRA, the Attorney General or an individual may obtain an injunction if the victim has faced threats, intimidation, or coercion because of his or her protected category (race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability) or because he or she is engaged in a protected activity (for example, the right to use public ways and public places, the right to vote, or the right to associate)."