POLICE are asking the public for help in its search for a man suspected of attacking a Filipina American medical worker in Los Gatos, California on March 30.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, March 30, around 5 p.m. near Los Gatos Boulevard and Garden Lane, according to the Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department.
The 40-year-old Fil-Am, who was wearing medical scrubs, was reportedly walking along the boulevard when she was shoved from behind to the ground unprovoked.
The suspect also allegedly yelled at the victim to “go back to China” before leaving the scene on his bicycle.
“Without provocation, she was shoved from behind, causing her to fall to the ground,” said Police Chief Peter Decena in a video.
— Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department (@LGMSPolice) April 1, 2021
“As she was falling, she heard someone say, ‘Go back to (expletive) China,’” he added.
The suspect was described as a white man with tan skin or a light-skinned Hispanic. He was wearing a black or gray bicycle helmet, a dark-colored neck gaiter, a black T-shirt with white lettering on the back, and dark-colored jeans.
Decena noted that the victim was “shaken” but not injured.
The police chief highlighted the importance of reporting hate crimes and incidents to authorities.
“I know from experience that many Asian Americans, and especially our seniors, are often reluctant to report crimes against them. We need to make sure that our family and our friends understand how important it is to report these incidents,” Decena stressed.
An investigation is ongoing but anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the police department (408) 354-8600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Gatos Mayor Marico Sayoc, who is also Fil-Am, told the Asian Journal in an email that she was “heartbroken” to learn there was a hate crime in her own town following incidents reported in other parts of the Bay Area and across the country.
She said the town, which is located in Santa Clara County about an hour outside of San Francisco, is increasing foot and bicycle patrols, training for police officers on hate incidents and crimes, “upstander” training for community members, and encouraging residents to report any incidents.
“I want everyone to know that we are a town that will not tolerate this hatred not only to the AAPI community but also to our Black, Indigenous, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and other communities,” she said.
The mayor added, “We can not prevent these incidents/crimes; however, we are doing what we can to collectively assure our community that hate is not welcome in Los Gatos and we will prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that tracks anti-Asian American discrimination, reported earlier in March that from March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, it has received 3,795 firsthand incidents of racism and discrimination from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Of that number, 503 incidents took place in the first two months of 2021 alone.
Verbal harassment (68.1%) and shunning (20.5%), which entails the “deliberate avoidance of Asian Americans,” are the top two types of discrimination reported. Meanwhile, physical assault (11.1%) comprises the third-largest category of total incidents. Businesses were the “primary site” of discrimination (35.4%), followed by public streets (25.3%) and public parks (9.8%).