13-year-old arrested in hate crime assault on Sikh teen at Long Island mall

HUNTINGTON STATION, Long Island (WABC) -- A 13-year-old boy has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after police say he punched a Sikh teenager at a Long Island mall.

The boy, from Huntington Station, is charged with second-degree aggravated harassment as a hate crime.

He is not being identified because of his age, and the case will be handled in family court.

Chaz Bedi, 13, of Syosset, said he and a friend were walking through Walt Whitman Shops last Saturday when they passed a large group of teenagers.

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Bedi told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne one of them yelled, "Hey, Muhammad, come over here."

They were both wearing dastars, also known as turbans, as part of their Sikh religious garb.

Bedi said he and his friend walked up to the group and exchanged words, but they decided to walk away.

"Their body language, it's a little hostile," Bedi said. "They look older than us."

But he said the teens followed them, and one punched him in the face as another recorded on his cell phone.

"One of them says, 'I'm going to knock that ball off your head,'" Bedi said. "I see one of them walking up behind me, and then he jumps in front of me and then he just hits me in the face."

He said the teenager punched him with a closed fist on the left side of his face, and he and his friend then hid in a clothing store for a half hour.

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A Macy's employee notified security, who located the teens and kicked them out of the mall. Bedi's father, Satbir Singh, said the guard told him the teens said Bedi and his friend threatened to blow up the mall.

"Are you kidding me?" Singh said. "You're going to stereotype them and say like now we're terrorists?"

The teens apparently snuck back onto the property and were later detained for questioning.

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