On Tuesday, an Asian American man had coffee thrown on him while on a Washington D.C. train.
The incident: Roswell Encina, who is the chief communications officer for the Library of Congress, was commuting on the Metro’s Orange Line heading to Vienna when he felt something hit him.
- “I felt this major splash towards me,” he told NBC Washington. “So, when I looked down, I had iced coffee all over my leg, all over my suit jacket, all over my work bag.”
- He said the culprits were a group of kids and noted one particular girl was smiling as she threw another cup at him when they all ran.
- Encina said he believes he was targeted because of his race because only he and another Asian woman, whom he had no relation to, were attacked with coffee.
- The group immediately left on the L’Enfant Plaza stop around 4 p.m.
.@Metrorailinfo @wmata Several teenagers just threw a cup of a creamy drink on me and another passenger who is also Asian on the Orange line. They took off and got off at L’Enfant Plaza. Im covered in cream. I’ll be ok but hate is real. #StopAsianHate @DCPoliceDept pic.twitter.com/82GSgMGzlV
— Roswell Encina (@roswellencina) October 5, 2021
The response: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, known as the Metro, released a statement that read, “This type of behavior is inexcusable. We are sorry for the treatment they experienced, and rest assured that Metro Transit Police is investigating.”
- Police are not treating the incident as a hate crime.
- “That kind of caught me off guard a little bit, that they’re not investigating it that way,” Encina said. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots here. I mean, it was me and another Asian woman.”
- While Encina doesn’t want the kids to be arrested, he does want them to realize that their actions were wrong.
METRO HARASSMENT: @roswellencina says he was riding Metro home on Tuesday when a group of teens poured iced coffee on him + another Asian woman. He tells me the kids left the other passengers (who were not Asian) alone, so he feels he was targeted for being Asian @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/jJDBXOzqjz
— Aimee Cho (@AimeeCho4) October 7, 2021
- Encina wrote about his reasons for speaking out on Twitter: “I shared my story so people know incidents like these are happening. I spoke on behalf of the people who have no voice or are too scared to speak out. We have to be gleamers for others and use this moment to educate and stop a culture of hate. #StopAsianHate”