Participants in the Diamond Bar rally. (NBC Los Angeles)

Rafu Wire and Staff Reports

DIAMOND BAR — Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva expressed disappointment on April 9 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 hate crimes against the Asian American-Pacific Islander community.

The sheriff said via Twitter, “I am disappointed charges were not filed by the DA’s office for ‘lack of sufficient evidence,’ though video clearly depicts the acts by the suspect contrary to his statement of being ‘scared.’ His social media posts further confirm his intentions. This should be heard in court!”

There was no immediate response to an email sent to the District Attorney’s Office.

The incident happened around noon on March 21 at Grand Avenue and Diamond Bar Boulevard. Video footage shows 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.

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.

“Thank you to all those who came forward to report this hate incident which occurred at the ‘Stop Asian Hate’ rally in Diamond Bar yesterday,” Villanueva tweeted on March 22. “Hateful acts like this are not welcome in Los Angeles County and must STOP!”

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.

Speakers at the rally included County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Diamond Bar City Councilmember Andrew Chou, and Dr. Ronda Hampton of REACH for Mental Health Awareness. Hampton, a Diamond Bar resident, also sponsored the event.

“This incident happened just a few minutes after I left the rally,” said Hahn. “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.”

At Hahn’s recommendation, the Board of Supervisors has voted to establish a working group to address rising hate and violence against AAPIs.

Several anti-hate rallies have been held throughout Southern California since last month’s shooting spree that left eight people, including six Asian women, dead in the Atlanta area.

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