Statement of Support for Hate Crime Prosecution By Orange County District Attorney’s Office

For Immediate Release – August 4, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA –The South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC),  National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), South Asian Bar Association of Northern California (SABA-NC), South Asian Bar Association of San Diego (SABA-SD), Muslim Bar Association of Southern California (MBASC), Iranian American Bar Association of Orange County (IABA-OC), Iranian American Bar Association of Los Angeles (IABA-LA), Asian Pacific American Bar Association (APABA), and Arab American Lawyers Association (AALA) commend the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for its decision to prosecute as a hate crime the recent attack on two Muslim women in Irvine, California.

On the evening of March 1, 2017, two (presently unidentified) Muslim women – one wearing a hijab, a head scarf or head covering commonly worn by Muslim women – were the victims of an attack while leaving a Target store in Irvine. Their assailant, 35-year-old Brandon Ricardo Pascual of Irvine, allegedly pulled up next to the women as they walked to their car and yelled an “anti-Muslim expletive.”  He reportedly proceeded to stop his car behind theirs, preventing them from leaving.  Shortly after Pascual drove off and the women were able to leave, and while they were stopped at a red light down the street, the women heard clanking noises against their car.  According to police, it was Pascual throwing coins at them through an open window.

On July 26, 2017, Irvine police arrested Pascual after they identified him using a combination of surveillance footage and partial license plate information recorded by the women.  The Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged Pascual with two felony counts of assault-hate crime with ability to cause injury.

We commend the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and Irvine police’s thorough investigation and fair treatment of victims, and encourage law enforcement officers and prosecutors throughout California and the United States to work together in prosecuting bias crimes committed against Arab, African, Middle Eastern, Muslim, Sikh, and South Asian (AAMEMSSA) individuals and communities.  Acknowledging hate is the first step to making our communities safe for all