ANDRE Cadiz was having lunch outside of Dollar Hits in Los Angeles’ Historic Filipinotown on Saturday, April 3 when he heard a man yelling incoherently.
The 26-year-old Filipino American graphic designer, who was sitting facing the restaurant with his back toward the strip mall’s parking lot, chose to ignore the remarks and kept eating.
Then, he heard a loud bang on the window in front of where he was sitting.
A rock that was allegedly thrown by the man narrowly missed Cadiz’s head, he said in an interview.
“I jumped out of my seat and then I realized this guy in the parking lot was in a stance that looked like he just threw something,” Cadiz, who was dining alone with his dog at around 4 p.m., told the Asian Journal. “There was a mark on the window and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, that was a rock that went over my head.”
His first instinct was to pull out his phone to record a video, in which he confronts the man and asks him, “What the (expletive), bro?”
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The man, who Cadiz said was holding another rock and a pair of scissors, can be heard on the video daring restaurant staff to “come outside” and “call the cops.”
During the exchange, Cadiz alleged that the man threw another object, which could have been a small black rock or piece of charcoal that landed on the table where he had been sitting.
Some witnesses are heard on camera telling the man to stay put in the parking lot, but he then walked away.
There have been no reports of injuries from the incident. The man in the video has not been identified, as of this writing.
Cadiz said he did not hear the man use any racist language targeted toward Filipinos or Asians, but noted that Saturday’s incident comes amid a string of violent attacks that have been reported by Asian Americans across the country, with some incidents going viral in recent weeks.
“I wondered if it was even worth reporting or if it was racially motivated,” said Cadiz. “From my perspective, whether someone said something racist or not, there’s still violence against Asians happening here in LA and around the country.”
After the incident, Cadiz posted the one-minute video on his Instagram account, along with a photo of rocks reportedly found outside the restaurant and another image showing a white mark left on the window.
He sent the photos and videos to the restaurant owner for evidence if a police report is filed. The Los Angeles Police Department did not respond to the Asian Journal’s request for comment on whether it was investigating the incident, as of press time.
Elvie Chan — who owns Dollar Hits, which specializes in Filipino street food along the 4200 block of Temple Street — told the Asian Journal that she and the staff had not seen the man before and suspected he could be a transient.
She was uncertain whether Saturday’s incident could be classified as a racially motivated attack.
Chan hopes the encounter will not scare customers away from coming to her restaurant, which in addition to having prepared dishes inside, sets up grills outside for customers to cook their skewers at night until they close at 10 p.m. In the hours following the incident, she said the restaurant had its usual influx of Saturday night customers.
“We want our community to be aware, but to not be scared of supporting Filipino businesses like ours,” Chan told the Asian Journal.
The day after, Cadiz returned with pepper spray and a baseball bat to thank the staff for making sure he was okay.
“We need to really take charge of protecting ourselves because it seems like at this point, we’re not able to count on others to protect our communities and businesses,” he said. “There’s still a stereotype that Asians aren’t going to speak up or fight back so maybe that’s why they’re seen as vulnerable or easy to take advantage of.”
Kimmy Maniquis, the executive director of HiFi’s Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, told the Asian Journal that the nonprofit organization plans to offer online self-defense and Filipino martial arts classes for community members who want to learn tactics to protect themselves in public.
The organization is also holding virtual spaces with mental health practitioners to help community members talk about and process the recent anti-Asian hate incidents.
Maniquis reminded the community of resources, such as bystander trainings and reporting platforms like the county’s 211 hotline or StopAAPIHate.org, which allows individuals to report an incident in English or another language like Tagalog.