Hundreds of people in Wolverhampton, UK, have paid tribute to a Sikh US police officer who was killed during a routine patrol in Texas last month.
The murder of Harris County Sheriff Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal, 42 – who was hailed as a “trailblazer” for becoming the first officer in Texas to wear a traditional Sikh turban and beard – sent shockwaves through the US as well as in Sikh communities around the world.
Sun Kaur, of United Sikhs, said that as the group’s homeland security director, Dhaliwal “lived everyday in service of others”. She said he “proudly wore his turban” to symbolise his commitment to “equality for all”.
Dhaliwal had been drawn to a life of community service, speaker after speaker recounted during the memorial on Saturday.
His father served in the Indian Navy and his uncle, too had served in the Indian military.
Dhaliwal’s sister, Spring Vale ward Labour councillor Rupinderjit Kaur, also paid tribute to her brother at the memorial service which she had helped organise.
“People say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time but I say he was in the right place because he was doing his duty,” she had said when she first learned of his death in the US.
Both siblings were born in India before moving away. Mr Dhaliwal first worked as a truck driver in Texas before later joining the sheriff’s department 10 years ago, she recalled.
During the eulogy, Ms Kaur remembered her brother saying: “Never compromise with your faith to fit in. Be an example.
“If we [Sikhs] don’t tell the world about ourselves, then who will?”
Dhaliwal was shot in the back of the head by a convict who feared going back to prison, police say. His killing is not suspected of being a hate crime.
Reporting by Minreet Kaur