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Lawyer Representing Men Charged In Gas Station Fight Says They’re Not Racist

Ariel Worthy
From left: Simon Sadhra, Bill Singh and attorney David Shrager.

Attorney David Shrager said the misdemeanor charges of simple assault against his clients — who were captured on video assaulting two black women at an Exxon Gas Station — were appropriate, and that a community-led attempt to elevate the charges to a felony level was not right. 

"Aggravated assault is a very serious charge that involves certain elements of crimes," Shrager said at a Thursday morning press conference. "Those elements have not been met in this case." 

His clients, Bill Singh and Simon Sadhra, are accused of assaulting two black women at an Exxon gas station after a verbal argument over spilled gas. Shrager said Sadhra and Singh are immigrants from India and have been in the U.S. for more than 10 years. (A third man named Scott Hill, who is white, also faces simple assault charges for his role in the incident). 

Shrager said his clients are not racist and they love the community that they work in. 

"As you can see both my clients are ethnic minorities and religious minorities," he said. "...I've seen so much anger and so much hatred from both sides. There's been so much negativity and racism I'd like that to end. Both of my clients know what it feels like to be a minority in a country, both of my clients know what it feels like to be different." 

Shrager said the men do not own the gas station and have been suspended without pay until the case is over. 

Hours after the press conference, Rep. Summer Lee released a statement saying that the attack is "another stark example of how identity, societal perceptions and implicit bias can inform the interactions we have with each other." 

"We urge you to acknowledge that these conditions in fact existed, and that they are more than random," the statement said. "Victims of most crimes aren't beaten in the broad daylight without fear of retribution." 

Born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Ariel finally made a “big move” 45 minutes down the interstate to the University of Alabama where she studied Journalism and International Studies. During her time in college she interned with Tuscaloosa News, a daily newspaper in her college town. After college, she got her first job back in her hometown with Birmingham Times, a weekly where she served as reporter and editor. Ariel made an even bigger move to Pittsburgh and joined the 90.5 WESA family as digital producer. She is adjusting to experiencing actual cold weather.
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