Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed disappointment Friday that the District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute a “hate incident” in Diamond Bar involving a motorist who shouted obscenities at a group protesting Asian American-Pacific Islander hate crimes.
There was no immediate response to an email sent to the District Attorney’s Office after the close of regular business hours seeking a response to Villanueva’s comment that prosecutors cited a lack of sufficient evidence to file charges.
Posting to Twitter, Villanueva implied that the suspect, whose license plate was captured on video, had been questioned in connection with the March 21 incident.
“Video clearly depicts the acts by the suspect contrary to his statement of being `scared,”’ Villanueva posted. “His social media posts further confirm his intentions. This should be heard in court!”
The altercation occurred about noon March 21 at Grand Avenue and Diamond Bar Boulevard.
The driver, described only as a white man in his 50s, yelled racial epithets at the group, which included a 32-year-old Asian woman and a 16-year-old Black girl, and kept driving.
The case was listed as a hate “incident” and not as a hate “crime” because there was no injury or property damage, according to the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
Video footage showed a dark-colored sedan driving through a red light at the intersection full of marchers taking part in the “Stop Asian Hate” rally, then making a U-turn and driving through a second time while the group was still in the crosswalk.
“This incident happened just a few minutes after I left the rally,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes Diamond Bar, said in the days following the march.
“This kind of vitriol is appalling and is the reason so many AAPI residents feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods. The brazenness of doing this at an anti-hate rally speaks to the level that people will go to to harass and bully communities of color. I continue to stand with my constituents who were peacefully demonstrating against hate and I condemn this man’s actions.”
This week, at Hahn’s recommendation, the Board of Supervisors voted to establish a working group to address rising hate and violence against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
Hahn also called for cameras along Colima Road in Rowland Heights and Hacienda Heights, a move she said she believed would make residents feel safer, though civil rights advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said surveillance exacerbates insecurity and violence.
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