A Caucasian man in Fullerton, CA has been charged with a hate crime after throwing rocks at an Asian woman and her 6-year-old son last month.
The incident, which resulted in damages to the woman’s car, occurred while she was driving her son along a quiet stretch on March 31, according to the Washington Post.
Roger Janke, 28, is accused of throwing rocks at the woman’s vehicle. The 38-year-old victim parked and called 911, according to the Associated Press.
Upon his arrest, Janke claimed that “Koreans in the area were trying to control him,” according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. He is currently held at Theo Lacy Facility on a $51,500 bail.
He pleaded not guilty to felony counts of violating a person’s civil rights and vandalism, as well as a misdemeanor charge of throwing a substance at a vehicle, which includes a felony hate crime enhancement. If convicted, he could face up to six years in state prison and six months in county jail, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Fullerton Police Cpl. Billy Phu said Janke is a transient individual who has had previous troubles with the law, according to the Orange County Register. He pleaded not guilty to multiple misdemeanor counts of vandalism and drug-related crimes in four open cases.
It’s unclear if Janke had expressed animosity toward Koreans or other Asians in his previous cases. It’s also unknown if he had an attorney to speak for himself.
“I refuse to tolerate hate in Orange County,” DA Todd Spitzer said, according to FOX 11. “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 will return to court on April 16.
Featured Image Screenshot via Fullerton Police Department Public Information Officer