By J.K. YAMAMOTO, Rafu Staff Writer
TORRANCE — Lena Hernandez of Long Beach was scheduled for arraignment Monday morning at the Torrance Courthouse for an assault that allegedly occurred a year ago, but she failed to show up.
A bench warrant was issued for Hernandez, who is charged with verbally assaulting a custodian at Del Amo Mall in Torrance and then physically attacking a female bystander who tried to intervene in October 2019.
Hernandez is also accused of going on racist rants against Asian Americans in two separate incidents in June at Wilson Park, but prosecutors cited insufficient evidence to file charges against her in those cases, despite the fact that her remarks were recorded in a video that went viral.
In the Del Amo case, Hernandez, a social worker, was charged with misdemeanor battery. The victim, Kayceelynn Salminao, was among those attending the arraignment.
Before the scheduled time of the arraignment, Sandy Roxas, attorney for the victims, stood outside the courthouse with associates holding up signs calling for criminal charges in the Wilson Park incidents.
“Lena Hernandez was ordered to appear at 8:30 at the Torrance Courthouse for the arraignment,” Roxas said later that morning. “However, she did not show up, and by 10 o’clock the court did order and issue a bench warrant for her arrest for her failure to appear …
“She did not have counsel appear on her behalf. She did not have a reason why she failed to appear. This is a clear indication of her lack of respect for the judicial system and her lack of concern for the victim.
“There will be another arraignment date that will be scheduled if they’re able to ascertain her [whereabouts]. The court did set a bail amount for $20,000.”
“It’s like she has no respect for us to not show up today,” Salminao commented. “… So now that there’s a bench warrant pretty much demanding Torrance PD to just go pick her up, they know where she lives, so don’t sit on it. Just go and get her.”
Sherry Bulseco, who was verbally harassed while exercising at Wilson Park, said, “I’m just here to support Kaycee. And I’m just like really frustrated at the results of what happened. Hopefully, the justice system does something about it … Go get her and do something different.”
In that incident, Hernandez complained about Bulseco using the stairs to exercise and said, “Listen to me. We don’t play games here anymore. Next time … you’re going to get your ass kicked by my family. They’re gonna (expletive) you up.”
She added, “This is not just for you. Get the (expletive) out of this state. Go back to whatever Asian country you belong in.”
In the other Wilson Park incident, which was also recorded, a father and son were accosted.
At a rally held in July at the park, the father said, “You park a car? You could be attacked by ‘Torrance Karen’ because she is free and walking around right now. Five victims, three attacks and one misdemeanor charge from 2019. That’s the reality of the ‘Torrance Karen’ attack. We are deeply concerned that the city of Torrance might have created legalized discrimination by announcing insufficient evidence over these two videos which went viral.”
Two other anti-Asian incidents at Rolling Hills Plaza have heightened fears that racism is on the rise in the area.
LATE BULLETIN: According to Roxas, Hernandez showed up to court at 1:30 p.m. Monday. The bench warrant was withdrawn and all of the parties are scheduled to go to court on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. so that the victims can make a victim impact statement. Hernandez is asking for an open plea from the court.