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California: Lathan Johnson charged with hate crime against Hindus for attacking several Hindu women wearing saree and bindi

Lathan Johnson, a 37-year-old Palo Alto resident, stole necklaces from his victims before making off in a getaway vehicle.

 A California man has been charged with robbery and hate crimes after attacking and robbing 14 Hindu women in the Bay Area, said the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

Lathan Johnson, a 37-year-old Palo Alto resident, stole necklaces from his victims before making off in a getaway vehicle. He also hurt the ladies in the process, particularly those between 50 and 73, reported ABC7 News.

Johnson was accused of forcefully removing jewellery off the necks of the women. In one such instance, he reportedly pushed a woman to the ground before punching her husband in the face, ripping off her necklace, and jumping inside a getaway car. In another such case, a woman’s wrist was broken during the attack.

Johnson was apprehended by the Santa Clara Police Department and the US Marshal’s Office, although the Milpitas Police Department was the first to link him to the crimes. He was connected to a getaway car by them.

If convicted, Johnson will face a maximum jail term of 63 years. The next hearing in the case will take place on November 4. All of the stolen necklaces are estimated to be worth roughly $35,000.

The District Attorney’s office stated that almost all the victims were wearing a saree, bindi, or other types of ethnic attire when they were attacked. The majority of the incidents, which began in June, occurred in San Jose, Milpitas, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara.

Jeff Rosen, the district attorney for Santa Clara County, said he is committed to seeking punishment for anyone who attacked others because of their nationality or ethnicity.

Rosen said, “I say to our South Asian community that anyone who targets and attacks you will be arrested and dealt with the utmost severity under our law”. Rosen also stated that the treasured diversity of Santa Clara County is not a criminal opportunity but rather a strength and superpower.

“We are facing an uptick in hate crimes and online Hinduphobia. Seeing that we’re making progress in prosecuting to the fullest, sends a strong message,” said Samir Kalra, a member of the Hindu American Foundation.

The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office had earlier filed robbery and hate crime charges against a group of men in late 2021 after they allegedly preyed on Asian women while on a rampage of purse snatching. Those proceedings are still pending.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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