2 in Seattle, San Francisco faces hate charges against Asians


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Prosecutors in Seattle and San Francisco have charged men with hate crimes in separate incidents that authorities say targeted people of Asian descent amid a wave of high-profile violence and sometimes , deadly against Asian Americans since the pandemic began.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Los Angeles and across the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, the latest in a series of demonstrations in response to what many said has turned into a troubling wave of anti-Asian sentiment. .

“We can no longer accept the normalization of being treated as perpetual foreigners in this country,” said speaker Tammy Kim at a rally in Los Angeles’ Korean district.

At a rally attended by more than 1,000 people at the San Francisco Civic Center, the city’s police chief, Bill Scott, received loud applause when he said, “Hate is the virus and love is the vaccine.”

On Friday, prosecutors in King County, Washington, charged Christopher Hamner, 51, with three counts of malicious harassment after police said he yelled profanity and threw things at cars in two incidents last week against women. and children of Asian descent, The Seattle Times reported. Saturday.

In San Francisco, Victor Humberto Brown, 53, appeared in court for the first time after authorities said he repeatedly struck an Asian-American man at a bus stop while yelling an anti-Asian insult.

Brown was initially booked for misdemeanors, but prosecutors recently elevated the case to a felony, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.. He said in court that he has post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Seattle, according to court documents, Hamner yelled profanity and threw things at a woman stopped at a red light with her two children, ages 5 and 10, on March 16. Three days later, authorities say Hamner cut up another car driven by Asian Woman, yelled profanity and the word “Asian” at her, and then threw a bottle of water at her car after charging at her as she parked in a parking spot. .

Hamner was being held on $ 75,000 bond Saturday. It was not immediately clear whether Hamner, who has yet to appear in court, had hired an attorney or would be assigned a public defender.

In the first instance, the woman told her 10-year-old daughter to try to take a cell phone photo of the man. The woman, identified by KIRO-TV as Pamela Cole, posted about the incident on social media and a friend’s husband identified Hamner as a possible suspect.

The second woman who was approached had a dash camera on her vehicle that captured the license plate of the other car, which is registered in Hamner’s name, according to court documents. The police detective investigating the case reviewed the video and determined that the woman’s assailant “was clearly Hamner,” according to the charges.

Cole, who said he identifies himself as part Chinese and part Malaysian, said KIRO-TV felt like “an easy target” when Hamner approached his car, hit his fists and yelled, “Get out! Come out! “While spitting profanity about his Asian heritage.

“I was in complete shock. Are you talking to me?” Cole told the station.

“He jumps out of the car and attacks us,” he said. “That was the scariest part for me.”

In San Francisco, Ron Tuason, an army veteran of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish descent, told the Chronicle he was at a bus stop in the city’s Ingleside neighborhood on March 13 when Brown approached him and yelled at him. “Outside my country” before consuming. a racial slur designed to denigrate Asians. Tuason said Brown also said, “It’s because of you that there’s a problem here.”

Tuason, 56, said he believes Brown was referring to the coronavirus. Brown hit him multiple times, he said, knocking him to the ground. He suffered a black eye and a swollen cheek as a result of the attack and said he is also experiencing memory loss.

Police found Brown shortly after Tuason called 911.

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