Palo Alto addresses hate crimes and incidents, encouraging residents to report

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- There isn't a community across the South Bay that hasn't experienced a hate crime. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Erin West made that known during Tuesday's open conversation with the Palo Alto community.

"No one is immune from these," Deputy DA West shared. "There is no community that's really not suffering any hate crimes."

RELATED: Palo Alto man arrested for alleged hate crime after violently attacking 2 people, police dog

She joined the City of Palo Alto, its police department and others during a virtual townhall on Wednesday to take on the topic.

"A hate crime is always associated with an actual crime," she explained. "There has to be a vandalism, there has to be a threat, there has to be a battery."

Lately, Palo Alto has seen a string of hate crimes and hate incidents. ABC7 News reported on the racist graffiti discovered in a public bathroom, more discovered at a downtown parking garage.

VIDEO: Customer directs racist tirade at sushi restaurant owner in Palo Alto
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Palo Alto Police confirm a hate investigation is underway after a customer at Fuki Sushi went on a racist tirade, directed at the restaurant's owner.



In August, we highlighted a customer's racist tirade which was directed the restaurant owner of Fuki Sushi.

Most recently, ABC7 News covered the arrest of a man who police say was hurling anti-gay slurs and fighting with people downtown. However, these are not the only incidents impacting residents.

Wednesday's community conversation was meant to give residents the confidence to report incidents and the background to understand how these crimes are investigated and prosecuted.

VIDEO: Palo Alto man arrested in alleged hate crime assault
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A man was arrested after an alleged violent hate crime assault on two victims in downtown Palo Alto over the weekend, police said.



"Hate crimes are one of the few crimes, one of the only crimes where proving the motive is imperative," Palo Alto Police Capt. James Reifschneider said.

Among the hate crime cases brought to the DA's office so far this year, Deputy DA West said the Asian community is suffering the most.

"The Asian community has had 5- excuse me- 8 cases brought this year," West said. "What is interesting is they're the most violent that we have."

TAKE ACTION: Resources to help the Asian American and Pacific Islander community

Reasons why Councilman Greg Tanaka said he's remained a vocal advocate.

"These kind of incidents keep on happening, right? And without due justice," Councilman Tanaka told ABC7 News.

And he's not alone. Mayor Tom DuBois said the city has kept its focus on issues of race and equity.

"For the last two years, we've been going through a series of things with our Human Relations Commission, with our council, going over use of force policies with our police department," Mayor DuBois mentioned.

These are just a few steps the city is taking to enhance safety, engage the community and stop hate crimes.

To learn more about the City's race and equity actions, click here.

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