Seattle Cabbie Attacker Gets 40 Months for Hate Crime

Seattle, Wash.-area taxi driver Kashmira Hothi was severely beaten by his passenger Jamie Larson, who uttered racial epithets during the attack. Larson was sentenced to 40 months in prison for committing a hate crime.

Seattle, Wash.-area taxi driver Kashmira Hothi was severely beaten by his passenger Jamie Larson, who uttered racial epithets during the attack. Larson was sentenced to 40 months in prison for committing a hate crime.

By Indiawest

Calling a repeat felon’s outbursts during an attack on a cab driver “the most disgusting, ugly and racist language that I have heard in 30 years on the bench,” U.S. district Court Judge John Coughenour in Seattle, Wash., sentenced a homeless man Dec. 10 to 40 months in prison for brutally beating a Sikh cab driver.

Earlier this year, Seattle-area resident Jamie Larson – who has a record of 26 previous convictions, including two felonies – pleaded guilty to a single charge of a federal hate crime for his assault on Kashmira Hothi. According to police records and court documents, Larson kept up a barrage of hateful comments against Hothi as the taxi driver took him to his destination in a nearby suburb.
Upon arrival, Larson grabbed Hothi’s beard and punched him in the face several times before pushing him to the ground. Larson then repeatedly stomped on Hothi’s stomach, all the while calling the Indian American a “raghead,” “towelhead,” and “faggot mother-f***er.” He also screamed various comments to the victim, such as “what are you doing here?” and “why did you come to my country?”
Larson later admitted to police that he had attacked Hothi – a Sikh who wears a turban and beard – because he thought the cab driver was Muslim and of Middle Eastern descent. Larson also said he was intoxicated during the attack.
Hothi was immediately transported to a hospital. A family member who did not wish to be identified, told India-West last year that Hothi suffered severe bruising, and spent eight days in the hospital for an acute kidney injury, along with sprains and strains to his back and shoulder. The 50-year-old taxi driver had to spend time in physical therapy; it is unknown whether Hothi ever returned to his job as a driver for STITA Taxi.
The Web site reported that Larson wrote a letter to Coughenour before sentencing. “I have no excuse. I chose to drink. My actions could have resulted in (the man’s) death. An innocent man goes to work to provide for his family, and is savagely beat down for no reason. I feel frustration and am angry at myself.”
“What is wrong with me?” queried Larson, who has been undergoing treatment for alcoholism during his year-long stay in county jail, following his arrest after attacking Hothi. Coughenour’s sentence mandates that Larson must continue to get such treatment.
Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Council for American Islamic Relations in Seattle, told India-West that Larson’s seemingly earnest soul-searching was likely the product of his defense attorney, aiming to get a shorter sentence. “Anything he says now should be taken with a grain of salt. What was he thinking when he was beating up this poor man?”
Bukhari hailed Coughenour’s statements from the bench about Larson’s offensive language, saying it sent a powerful message to the community that those who perform such heinous attacks will be subject to the full force of the law.
“So many identical events are happening now,” Bukhari told India-West. “These strong statements must be made,” he said, adding that he hoped Larson’s 40-month sentence would serve as a deterrent to those looking to commit similar hate-based crimes.
“Each time this happens, people need to hear about it and know that they have recourse and don’t have to suffer in silence,” said Bukhari, adding that the larger issue of spreading hate and conspiracy theories must be addressed across the nation. “There’s an industry out there promoting hate,” he stated.
CAIR released a report last September revealing that there were 37 groups across the U.S. whose sole objective was to promote prejudice against Muslims. The 37 organizations collectively shared a staggering budget of over $119 million. The Center for American Progress released a similar report in 2011, noting that a small network with a slush fund of $40 million was spreading misinformation about Muslims and Islam across the country.
“No one in our community should face hate-based danger. We will use all federal tools to hold defendants accountable,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan, who represents the Western District of Washington. “The Pacific Northwest is a diverse community and we will continue to focus our efforts on making sure that diversity is respected and celebrated,” she said.