(Reuters) - The estranged son of a northern California city police chief was formally charged on Friday with attempted robbery and abuse of a 71-year-old Sikh man who was beaten and spat upon in an unprovoked attack caught on video, prosecutors said.
Tyrone McAllister, 18, whose parents assisted police in tracking him down following Monday’s attack in the town of Manteca, about 75 miles east of San Francisco, was arraigned in San Joaquin County Superior Court and ordered held on $300,000 bond.
Court records show a public defender was appointed to represent McAllister, and he was scheduled to return to court on Aug. 17. No plea was entered.
A second suspect, identified by authorities only as a 16-year-old boy, was also arrested and charged as a juvenile, but the status of his case was not immediately known.
A video of the attack, which occurred in a park and was recorded by a security camera on a nearby house, was posted online by municipal authorities.
It showed the two assailants confronting the victim, who was wearing a turban and walking alone on a sidewalk. The pair are seeking kicking the man and knocking him to the ground, before robbing him and spitting on him.
Following McAllister’s arrest on Wednesday, the police department of Union City, just outside San Francisco, posted a an open letter on its Facebook page from its chief, Darryl McAllister, acknowledging that his son had been arrested in the attack.
“Words can barely describe how embarrassed, dejected, and hurt my wife, daughters, and I feel right now. Violence and hatred is not what we have taught our children; intolerance for others is not even in our vocabulary, let alone our values,” the police chief wrote.
The police chief said he and his wife had helped the Manteca police locate his son, who the elder McAllister said “began to lose his way a couple of years ago while he was a juvenile, running away and getting involved in a bad crowd.”
While neither suspect was charged with a hate crime, activists say the attack followed a number of beatings of U.S. Sikhs over the past decade.
Groups that track hate crimes say assailants have sometimes mistaken followers of Sikhism, a faith that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, for Muslims, who have also been targeted in hate crimes.
“The behavior we witnessed on the video does not represent who we are as a community,” District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a brief videotaped statement of her own that was posted after Friday’s arraignment and translated into Punjabi.
Reporting by Makini Brice in New York; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles