07:51 GMT20 April 2021
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    The latest attack is just one of many against Asian Americans that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China. More than 3,000 such incidents have been reported since the start of the pandemic last year, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently condemning the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in recent weeks.

    Karen Marie Inman, a 39-year-old California woman, has been formally charged with misdemeanor hate crime and battery after she spat on and yelled racial slurs at an Asian man, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office confirmed, the Bay Area News Group reported.

    During the incident, which took place on February 13, Inman is accused of telling the 26-year-old Asian victim to go back to “where you came from,” the Attorney’s office said in a Monday statement. 

    The victim was sitting outside dining with a friend in downtown Mountain View when Inman approached him.

    Before verbally attacking the victim, Inman also stole food and clothing items from a store near the restaurant. During the theft, the woman told the store owners that she “did not have to pay because of their Asian ethnicity,” Mountain View police spokesperson Katie Nelson said in a statement. 

    When Inman was detained for questioning after the theft, officers also learned about the incident at the restaurant. However, Inman was released at the time because both the victims of the theft and the hate crime did not want to press charges. However, because the Mountain View Police Department has a policy to investigate any hate crimes, the investigation against Inman continued after she was released.

    Inman was eventually arrested on March 5 after she attempted to steal candy and ice cream from a local Smart and Final.

    “Inman had been previously identified in a theft from a store in downtown Mountain View in February and a subsequent battery at a downtown restaurant that included comments made against the victims because of their ethnicity,” Nelson wrote in the statement.

    “Officials at the District Attorney’s Office reviewed our case, and they established that hate crime charges could be brought against Inman,” Nelson added.

    Inman was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on Friday. The two charges against Inman carry a maximum penalty of a year and a half behind bars. The hate crime charge also requires that Inman complete a mandatory service requirement in California.

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