Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz this morning announced that a Brooklyn man has been charged with hate crimes in connection with two assaults on three Sikh men in the Richmond Hill neighborhood this month. Vernon Douglas, a 19-year-old Brownsville resident, was arraigned today before Queens Criminal Court Judge Anthony Battisti on 13 counts of robbery, assault and aggravated harassment, according to a statement released by Katz's office.

"This defendant is accused of targeting three men, all members of the Sikh community who wore turbans at the time of the attacks," Katz said in her statement. "We will not tolerate beatings motivated by hate in the borough of Queens – the most diverse county in the world."

Douglas, who was arrested on Thursday, is linked to three assaults in two incidents on April 3rd and 12th. He is charged with robbery in the first and second degree as a hate crime, four counts of assault in the second degree as a hate crime, assault in the second degree of an elderly person over 65, three counts of assault in the third degree as a hate crime and three counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree as a hate crime, according to the D.A.'s office.

An accomplice, 20 year old Hezekiah Coleman, of Richmond Hill, was arraigned on Wednesday and charged with five counts of robbery and assault as hate crimes, connected to the April 12 attack.

Douglas is accused of approaching a 70-year-old man, who was wearing a turban, as he was walking near the intersection of 95th Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard on the morning of April 3rd, according to details included in the D.A.'s statement. He allegedly punched the victim several times, and then fled the scene. The victim was treated at a local hospital for bruising and bleeding.

In the second incident, on April 12th at the same location, Douglas is accused of using a stick to attack a 45-year-old man wearing a turban, in the process knocking loose the victim's wallet and removing $300 in cash. Minutes later, Douglas is accused of attacking a second turban-wearing man, age 58. Coleman is alleged to have punched the second victim and threatened to shoot him; Douglas then allegedly took $200 in cash from that victim's pocket and fled. Both victims were taken to local hospitals for treatment.

Douglas and Coleman both face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.