O.C. Man Convicted of Hate Crime for Punching Black Man Working at Laguna Beach Whole Foods

The only Whole Foods store in Laguna Beach appears in an image from Google Maps.

The only Whole Foods store in Laguna Beach appears in an image from Google Maps.

A San Clemente man who punched a black man working at a Laguna Beach Whole Foods store was found guilty Thursday of committing a hate crime, prosecutors said.

Fernando Ramirez, 23, attacked the victim while he was working at the store on June 15, running up to him from behind and then punching him in the face, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The 26-year-old victim was left with a broken nose and severe damaged to his two front teeth.

Ramirez went on a “rant filled with racial epithets that targeted African Americans” after he was arrested, the DA’s office wrote in a news release.

He has been convicted of charges including one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury, one misdemeanor violation of civil rights by force and a felony hate crime enhancement, prosecutors said.

Authorities said he was previously sentenced to two years in prison for a gang-related felony assault in 2014. He faces up to eight years in state prison when he is sentenced Dec. 13.

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