A 28-year-old man has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly throwing rocks at a car in which there was an Asian woman and her 6-year-old son, officials announced Monday.
Roger Janke, of Fullerton, was charged with one felony count of violation of civil rights, one felony count of vandalism, one misdemeanor count of throwing a substance at a vehicle, and one felony hate crime enhancement, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Janke pleaded not guilty, the DA’s office said.
Around 1 p.m. on March 31, a 38-year-old woman was driving a Tesla near Hughes Drive and Bastanchury Road in Fullerton, with her 6-year-old son in the car. Janke allegedly threw two rocks at the passing vehicle, damaging the Tesla’s bumper and cracking the windshield.
The woman drove to a nearby park and called 911, according to the DA’s office.
Janke allegedly later told police that Koreans in the area were trying to control him.
“I refuse to tolerate hate in Orange County,” O.C. District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a written statement. “A woman and her child should be able to drive down the street without worrying about being attacked because of the color of their skin. Our commitment to continuing to prosecute hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law is sending a strong message to all the haters out there – there is no room for hate here – or anywhere.”
Janke faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison and six months in a county jail. He was being held on $51,500 bail at the Theo Lacy Facility.
The alleged attack comes as Asian Americans are facing a rise in racist verbal and physical attacks.
A study by Stop AAPI Hate, a group that has been documenting crimes against the Asian American Pacific Island communities, found near 3,800 racially motivated attacks against Asian Americans from March to February last year, noting that the number is likely higher since many incidents aren’t reported.