By Sydney Kaplan
LOS ANGELES, CA – Melvin Taylor was charged with a hate crime assault during an arraignment Tuesday in Department W30 of Los Angeles Superior Court, after allegedly attacking a Korean woman in Santa Monica.
“A hate crime against one of us is truly a crime against all of us,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said Tuesday in announcing the prosecution.
Taylor was said to have attacked the victim while she was parking on July 23. Allegedly, he attempted to steal her purse while yelling racial slurs and making remarks about COVID-19.
Taylor is currently facing three felony counts, including second-degree robbery, assault by means of force likely to produce bodily injury, and assault with a deadly weapon.
His case includes a hate crime allegation, which can trigger longer sentences for the perpetrators.
The threshold for establishing a hate crime in Los Angeles County is currently relatively high, requiring explicit evidence that hatred and/or prejudice was a significant factor in the attack.
However, if the allegations stating Taylor yelled racial slurs are proven correct, this may be able to suffice as explicit evidence of a hate crime, suggested legal observers.
Unfortunately, this victim is not alone with her experience. The U.S. saw a sharp increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020, rising nearly 150 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino.
The two epicenters of this increase in anti-Asian hate crimes are reportedly Los Angeles and New York City.
Gascón said he has committed himself and his office to “aggressively” prosecuting these hate crimes.
“It’s so important that we understand that [any] assaults that we’ve seen against the [Asian and Pacific Islander] community or previously any other community, is an assault on all of us,” said Gascón back in March.
This case still remains under investigation by the Santa Monica Police Department.