Photo: Hate crime sign
Police officers have brought up two men on hate crime charges after witnesses say they attacked a Latino man inside a bar in Sunnyvale, California. As officers took their photos, one of the men, not at all phased by the arrest, through his right arm out in a Nazi salute, said the police report.
Prosecutors for Santa Clara County have charged, Andrew Lane, 23, and Justin Cash 29 with a hate crime that occurred on the night of November 15th, 2010.
Upon entering Sporty’s Bikini Bar in Sunnyvale, Lane and Cash, already drunk, spotted the Latino man talking to a waitress. In what witnesses say was an unprovoked attack, the two men attacked the Latino man. Three witnesses say they saw Cash hit the victim in the head with a cue ball, as that he and Lane shouted racial slurs at the man. The witnesses also said they heard Cash yell, “How’s it feel to be hit by a white boy?”
Chief assistant district attorney Jay Boyarsky said, “Hate crimes are the most un-American of crimes. They are an attack on our core fundamental American values. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”
According to state records, Lane was a licensed security guard from 2007 to 2009, and has “WHITE BOY” tattooed across his back. When police searched Lane’s home, they found a number of confederate flags and a copy of “American History X,” a movie from 1998 in which Edward Norton plays a former neo-azi skinhead, who after going to prison for killing two black men, tries to keep his brother from the same dark path.
Though Sunnyvale, in the Bay Area, is rather diverse and has a low instance of hate crimes, associate director for the Anti-Defamation League in San Francisco Nancy Appel says that this attack proves that even diversity-rich areas are not immune from hate crimes. However, she adds that if anything good can be taken from the incident it is that people are willing to stand up and say that hate will not be allowed. The three witnesses who stepped up in the victim’s defense were of African-American and Indian ancestry.
“These people came to his defense,” said Appel. “Now, the target knows that other people are thinking, ‘We got your back.’ Otherwise, the target thinks that no one cares, and that sort of degrades the cohesion of the entire community.”
Both Lane and Cash posted their $25,000 bond on the night of their arrest and were released. They are scheduled to appear in court on February 18th to enter a plea.