By Forum Staff
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Gilbert Augustin was arraigned Tuesday on an indictment charging him with manslaughter and assault as hate crimes in the death of 66-year-old Jasmer Singh, whom he is accused of attacking after a fender bender in Kew Gardens.
Augustin, 30, of Jamaica, was charged in a 20-count indictment with manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime; manslaughter in the first degree; assault in the second degree as a hate crime; assault in the second degree; two counts of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; two counts of operating or driving a motor vehicle without a license; leaving the scene of an incident without reporting; three counts of operating a motor vehicle or permitting it to be operated in this state without having in full force financial security; three counts of operating, driving or parking a motor vehicle without proper license plates; operating or driving a motor vehicle with improper plates; reckless endangerment in the second degree; unlawful fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle in the third degree; reckless driving; and stopping, standing or parking a vehicle within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
According to the charges:
On Oct. 19, at approximately 11:50 a.m., Singh was driving a blue Toyota on the Van Wyck Expressway that collided with a black Ford Mustang driven by Augustin.
Immediately following the collision, Singh and Augustin pulled over in front of 87-34 Van Wyck Expressway in Kew Gardens to assess the damage. A witness observed Augustin get out of his car and approach Singh, who remained seated in his vehicle, and engage in a verbal dispute with the victim.
During the dispute, the witness heard Augustin say to Singh, in sum and substance, “No police, no police.” The witness also heard Augustin repeatedly refer to Singh as “Turban man.”
While arguing angrily with Singh, Augustin told the victim that he was not going to allow him to go home and did not want him to call the police.
According to witness testimony and video surveillance, Augustin reached into Singh’s car and grabbed Singh’s cell phone. Singh got out of his car and followed Augustin, who appeared to be holding two phones. The pair appeared to argue. Singh eventually recovered his phone.
As Singh was walking back to his car, Augustin punched him three times in the head and face. One of the punches caused Singh’s turban to come flying off his head. As a result of the blows, Singh fell backward to the ground, the back of his head hitting the pavement. Singh suffered a brain injury and was taken to a hospital. He died the next day.
After striking Singh, Augustin got into his car and drove away.
The day after the assault, Oct. 20, at approximately 1:30 p.m., an NYPD officer saw Augustin sitting in his car on 111th Avenue in Jamaica. The car was a black Ford Mustang that had scratches and a small dent on the rear driver’s side quarter panel.
Augustin was unable to produce a valid driver’s license or insurance. A review of DMV records showed his driver’s license was suspended. He was taken into custody.
If convicted, Augustin faces up to 25 years in prison.