Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include the Torrance Police Department’s official report posted to Twitter.
A California resident who was called the “Torrance Karen” from three separate incidents where she targetted Asian people has been identified.
Announced on Twitter, the Torrance Police Department (TPD) held a press conference through Facebook Live at 3 p.m. PST, where Police Chief Eve Berg confirmed the suspect as Lena Hernandez, 54, and supposedly from Long Beach, California; roughly a 25-minute drive away. The woman is not Vickie Wible, as some Twitter users originally suspected.
— Torrance Police (@TorrancePD) June 12, 2020
What’s happened so far: Hernandez made headlines after a video was posted to Facebook documenting the moment she unleashed a racially-charged tirade at a Filipino American woman named Sherry, who was exercising in Wilson Park on Wednesday. Since then, more Asian people have come forward with videos and photos of the same woman either verbally or physically attacking them around California.
- Twitter user @kayceelyn_a, reported the same woman for allegedly physically assaulting her in a Del Amo Mall bathroom after she defended a janitor from her verbal attacks in October 2019.
- On the same Wednesday, Hernandez verbally abused Sherry, she threatened and verbally assaulted another Asian person in Torrance. The anonymous Twitter user was able to record her license plate number.
The same racist threatened and assaulted us today.
Reported the incident to @TorrancePD
— Anti Karen For All (@AntiKarenLeague) June 11, 2020
Who took notice: TPD Public Information Officer Sergeant Alexander Martinez gave a statement to NextShark about the Wilson Park and Del Amo Mall incidents yesterday.
- The TPD tweeted back to the video of the Wilson Park incident yesterday and confirmed that they have reached out to Sherry.
— Kayceelyn Salminao (@kayceelyn_a) June 11, 2020
- California State Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi alerted Torrance’s Mayor Patrick Furey, and stated in the conference, “racism against any community is unacceptable.”
- Mayor Patrick Furey also condemned Hernandez’s behavior and defended Sherry for wanting to exercise “while practicing social distancing without conflict,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
- A petition to find and press charges against Hernandez was made yesterday, with signatures surging past its original 7,500 goal, reached its 10,000 one, and have now expanded to 15,000, as of this writing.
An ongoing investigation: The search for Lena Hernandez is still not over. The TPD ran the license plate associated with the car she was last seen in, and have “been to multiple locations” to find it.
- A possible physical assault charge may be issued, however, it will be up to the city prosecutor to decide.
- When asked why Hernandez was in Torrance as she may not live there, Chief Berg confirmed that she has “association” with the city.
- There is “no indication to believe Hernandez has any connection to the TPD,” neither is the case for Vickie Wible for the claims that both women have children in law enforcement.
Hateful Speech / Assault Suspect Identified Press Release pic.twitter.com/td6kCMWRuo
— Torrance Police (@TorrancePD) June 13, 2020
Chief Berg confirmed that the TPD will update when Hernandez is found and put into custody. She urges anyone who can identify her, has seen her, or has any information to contact the department at 310-328-3456 or the detectives at 310-618-5570.
This is a developing story.