Sacto 9-1-1
June 6, 2011
Natomas man sentenced to prison in attack on Sikh taxi driver

A Natomas man has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison for his attack on a Sikh taxi driver in West Sacramento in November.

Pedro Ramirez, 42, was sentenced Friday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall. Ramirez pleaded no-contest March 7 to a felony assault charge and admitted that his attack on cab driver Harbhajan Singh was a hate crime. Ramirez also admitted that he caused great bodily injury to the victim, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Johnny Morales Jr., 33, of West Sacramento, who had a lesser role in the attack, also pleaded no contest to a felony assault and was previously sentenced to felony probation.

On Nov. 28, Singh drove Ramirez, Morales and their wives to West Sacramento from a bar in Sacramento. Singh was wearing a traditional Sikh turban and beard. As he was dropping off the passengers, Ramirez and Morales demanded a fare that was less than the $14 Singh requested, officials said. Singh was initially reluctant, but then turned to give Morales the additional change he demanded.

At that point, Ramirez shouted racial epithets, accused Singh of being Muslim and punched Singh in the face approximately 10 times while Morales punched the cab driver from behind, according to the news release.

Singh suffered multiple cuts, a fracture of the orbital bone in his face and a spinal fractures.

Ramirez also attempted to pull Singh from the cab but was prevented by Singh's seat belt. Ramirez's wife stopped the beating by throwing her body between Singh and her husband. Morales and Ramirez then pulled Ramirez's wife from the car, allowing Singh to escape in his cab.

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