Two men pushed Sahbit Singh Natt on the ground in Graystone Park in Manteca, and then they kicked him and spit on him. Aug. 6, 2018. Photo: City of Manteca
MANTECA, Calif. - The teenage son of the Union City police chief was arrested on Wednesday following an attack on a Sikh man -- one of two assaults in a span of less than two weeks on men wearing turbans in Central California. The arrest also prompted a personal and painful apology from the suspect's father.
Tyrone McAllister - the 18-year-old son of Union City Police Chief Darryl McAllister -- and a 16-year-old were arrested by Manteca police for the Monday attack of Sahbit Singh Natt, 71, who was beaten near Graystone Park in Manteca, Calif.
In surveillance video provided by the city, two teens are seen walking up to Natt and pushing him to the ground. One teen kicks him and then spits on him before walking away. Natt fought back but because of an epileptic seizure he had several years ago, his nephew said, he wasn't able to report when the attackers said, which is why police will not recommend this attack as a hate crime. Still, Tyrone McAllister was booked into San Joaquin County Jail on suspicions of attempted robbery, elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. The 16-year-old was booked on the same charges, but sent to the county's juvenile detention center.
On the Union City Police Department's Facebook page, Darryl McAllister wrote that he is "disgusted" and "devastated by how much the nature of his son's actions are such a departure from everything he has stood for in his personal life and 37 year career of compassionate, engaging police work."
In a lengthy and personal statement, Darryl McAllister continued: "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. Crime has never been an element of our household, our values, nor the character to which we hold ourselves."
Darryl McAllister said his son began to lose his way a couple years ago, "running away and getting involved in a bad crowd. He pretty much divorced his friends and family, associating with people none of us knew. He got into trouble for some theft-related crimes and ended up spending several months in juvenile hall. As an adult, he was again arrested for a theft-related incident, and he ended up spending another three months in adult jail as a result. Since being released he has been wayward and has not returned to our family home for several months."
Darryl McAllister apologized to the Sikh community and society at large -- many of whom commended his courage in the comments section of his Facebook post. He said he is at a loss for what happened. He said the rest of his family, including his two daughters, have never been in trouble with the law. And he said he also realizes the sad irony of his position and the crime of which his son is accused.
"It's difficult for us to comprehend how one of three kids who grew up with the same parents, under the same roof, with the same rules and same values and character could wander so far astray," he wrote. "We simply don't know why, or how we got here. In the eyes of the public, no matter the irrelevance to the incident, the fact remains that the father of the perpetrator of this despicable crime is a police chief, period."
The attack on Natt comes after another act of bigotry in Stanislaus County, about 30 miles away, on July 31. That's when Surjit Malhi said he was putting up campaign signs for local Republicans at night when two men ambushed him, throwing sand in his eyes before beating him in the head, shoulders and neck in Keyes, Calif., about 90 miles east of San Francisco.
Malhi, 50, said the men screamed at him to "go back to your country" before spray-painting the same message and a white supremacist symbol on his truck. The men were wearing black hoods and had blue eyes, he said. The symbol the men spray-painted on his truck is the white supremacist version of the Celtic Cross, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Malhi said he believes the turban he was wearing saved his life during the attack because it softened the blows to his head.
The Sikh Coalition reported an increase in violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, with more than 300 cases reported throughout the U.S. in just one month.
In March, the collation said there has been another "alarming recent spike" in hate crimes against Sikhs, with an estimated one a week since the beginning of 2018.
In January, two men were sentenced to three years in prison for the beating of a Sikh man in the San Francisco Bay Area. In March, a Sikh man in Seattle said a man shot him in the arm in his driveway after telling him to go back to his country.
In 2012, a man shot and killed six Sikh worshippers and wounded four others at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee before killing himself.
The Associated Press, KTVU's Kellee Roman, KCRA and KTXL/Fox40, both in Sacramento, contributed to this story.
READ THE POLICE CHIEF'S FULL STATEMENT HERE: