Originally Published in the Los Angeles Times
Faith E. Pinho and Leila Miller - March 22, 2021
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident in Diamond Bar as a possible hate incident.
Authorities are investigating as a hate crime an incident in which a man disrupted a protest against anti-Asian racism in Diamond Bar on Sunday by driving through a group of protesters while yelling insults about China.
Video posted to Instagram showed a black Honda Civic sitting at a stoplight at Grand Avenue and Diamond Bar Boulevard as about a dozen protesters crossed the street.
The driver then headed through an opening between the protestors and pulled a U-turn while yelling, "F — China!"
Another video showed the man, described by the Sheriff's Department as a white man in his 50s, standing outside his car, waving his hand and repeating the slur. .
The Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime, Sheriff Alex Villanueva wrote on Twitter Monday evening.
Dozens of people gathered in Diamond Bar on Sunday with colorful signs bearing such slogans as “Stop Asian Hate" and "End the Violence Against Asians." The protest was one of several in Southern California in the aftermath of shootings by a white man at Atlanta-area spas last week that killed eight people, including six Asian women.
Orange County resident Lowell Renold, 25, said protesters filled every corner of the Diamond Bar intersection. Standing with a sign that said, "Los Angeles County stands united against hate," Renold joined others in chanting, "No justice, no peace."
Although he is not Asian, Renold said he attended the protest to say, "Enough is enough" to white supremacy, hatred and bigotry.
Most motorists honked in support of the protesters.
"There was just so much love and support in the air," Renold said.
He did not witness the incident involving the Honda Civic driver but said it was "really disheartening and sad" that anyone would make racist comments at a rally against racism.
"I don’t understand how you can look at something like that and feel angry and feel like you're being attacked," he said.
The protest also addressed a wave of other attacks against Asian Americans that have escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some people blaming them for the virus because of its origins in China.
A report by the advocacy group Stop AAPI Hate documented thousands of racist verbal and physical attacks against Asian Americans since coronavirus shutdowns began last March.
On Thursday, a Daly City woman became another victim in a string of violent attacks against Asian seniors in the Bay Area.
A security camera captured a person running up to the elderly woman, knocking her to the ground and grabbing her possessions before running away.
In the wake of the incident, Daly City residents organized a Stop Asian Hate protest Sunday.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen leaders and members of Los Angeles’ Asian and Pacific Islander community gathered for a media briefing in Koreatown on Monday afternoon to denounce anti-Asian violence and to encourage residents to report hate incidents. Some held signs that said, "Stop AAPI Hate" and "No Place for Hate."
“We all have to raise our voice,” said Peter Kang, president of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of L.A., standing in front of the headquarters of Radio Korea. “Everyone has to remember that all lives matter…. Black, Asian, Latino, white — we all live together here.”
Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Blake Chow said that since the shooting in Georgia, the department has increased patrols in neighborhoods with many Asian businesses, such as Koreatown and Chinatown, and emphasized that the LAPD tracks both hate crimes and hate incidents, which are encounters that don’t rise to the level of a crime.
John Lee, a Korean American city councilman who represents the northwestern stretches of the San Fernando Valley, said that while growing up, when people asked him what ethnicity he was, he would say American because he felt he had to emphasize that he could belong to both nationalities.
The Asian American experience, he said, is to “perpetually feel like an outsider.”
“We cannot allow this effort to die down,” he said of the Asian community's work to highlight anti-Asian violence. “We cannot and will not be silent any longer.”
City News Service contributed to this report.