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Hate crime charge: Federal Way man beat Sikh cab driver

A Federal Way man faces a hate crime charge after the savage beating of a Sikh cab driver.

The alleged assault took place at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 17 in the 1200 block of SW 301st Street in Federal Way.

Police responded to reports of a fight between an intoxicated male suspect and a cab driver. Two witnesses described the attack as savage, according to a Federal Way police report.

Jaime W. Larson, 48, has been charged with third-degree assault as well as felony malicious harassment under the state's hate crime law.

On Oct. 17, Auburn police had asked the cab driver to take Larson to an address in Federal Way because he was too intoxicated to walk or drive.

The cab driver said Larson began commenting on the turban he wore as part of his Sikhism religion. Larson began assaulting the cab driver and making comments regarding his religion and ethnicity, according to the report.

Larson punched the cab driver repeatedly in the body and face, and caused one of his teeth to become loose, according to the report. The suspect also ripped part of the cab driver's beard off his face. The piece of beard was found at the scene.

The victim was wearing a turban, kirpana, kara and Kanga, which are all items related to his Sikhism religion. The victim, an immigrant from India, believed he was assaulted because the suspect thought he was a Muslim, according to the police report. The victim was transported to a hospital.

At the scene, Larson told officers that he attacked the cab driver because the driver was "a towel head." Officers reported that the suspect also referred to the victim as an "Iranian, Iraqi, Raghead, Faggot Motherf-----."

The suspect allegedly told an officer at the scene that "We have Americans fighting overseas in his country and why doesn't he go back to there."

The suspect has a lengthy criminal history, which includes 19 bookings since 1986, along with 34 warrants. Past charges include disorderly conduct, assault, DUI, attempting to elude police, domestic violence assault, malicious mischief and marijuana possession.

Bail was set at $60,000. Larson will be arraigned Nov. 5 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent.

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