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TORRANCE — Torrance police on Friday said they have identified the woman seen in multiple videos verbally assaulting Asian American victims at Wilson Park as Lena Hernandez, 56, of Long Beach.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is being asked to call police. She’s also suspected of assaulting another woman in October at Del Amo Fashion Center.
On a video posted on social media, Hernandez, wearing sunglasses and a hat, verbally accosts a young woman who was exercising at the park. The younger woman was using her cell phone to video her workout, and she captured the rant that began when she allegedly bumped into the older woman as she came down some stairs.
“Go back to whatever (expletive) Asian country you belong in,” Hernandez yelled. “… This is not your place. This is not your home. We do not want you here.”
On Thursday, an Asian man posted video online showing him being accosted by the same woman, apparently on the same day because the woman was wearing the same clothing.
“You need to go home,” the woman tells the man.
On that video, the man photographs the woman’s license plate. KTLA5 reported that a man at the home linked to the plate claimed he had a restraining order out against the woman in the video.
At a press conference, Torrance Mayor Pat Furey vowed that the perpetrator would be prosecuted and asked any victims to come forward. Once the site of Toyota Motors’ North American headquarters, Torrance has the second-largest concentration of Japanese of any U.S. city, after Honolulu.
“Conduct like this is really inappropriate not just in Torrance but in any place,” Furey said, noting that city residents speak some 80 languages.
Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi, whose district includes Torrance, said he was horrified when his daughter first brought the video to his attention.
“When my daughter accidentally saw the video of this woman ranting against an Asian American woman in Wilson Park, which is a symbolic center of this Torrance community, it horrified my daughter and horrified me,” Muratsuchi said.
“It is very important that Torrance Police Department investigate and arrest this suspect. This incident is taking place within a larger trend in a spike of hate crimes, anti-Asian harassment against Asian Pacific Islanders not only in Los Angeles but the whole country. This has spiked since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic.”
Earlier in the day, hundreds gathered at Wilson Park, dressed largely in black, for a group workout and community protest.
Participants in Friday morning’s demonstration, who included people of different races and ethnicities, said they wanted to show that the community rejects the woman’s words and actions.
“It’s nice to see there’s people out there, good people that find this wrong,” one participant told Channel 7. “It’s a public park so we should just keep the peace, and it’s nice to see people who want to keep that peace.”