How to Report an Anti-Asian Hate Crime in Los Angeles and What Will Really Happen

Everything turns into a cottage industry or industrial complex in America. The Stop Anti-Asian hate movement has resulted in nominal policy changes and marketing. I don’t mean to dismiss the importance of policy changes and marketing. I can feel the effects of it. Three years ago, when I first started my nonprofit, it was nearly impossible to get government offices to even accept the idea that Asian Americans have problems. Now they at least listen to me about the woes of Asian Americans, specifically LEP (Limited English Proficient) or linguistically marginalized Korean immigrants.

Protest in Koreatown in March 2021

These kinds of protests have dwindled significantly. Yet, hate incidents and crimes persist in Koreatown LA. A number of Korean and Asian American nonprofits received funding from California’s Stop The Hate Fund. I know many of the Korean and Asian American organizations that received funding for Stop The Hate activities. I’m scratching my head about what they did with the money.

There’s a big issue with implementation of resources for Asian victims of hate crimes. This much lauded book, “How to Report a Hate Crime” lists phone numbers as resources. It’s clear that the author hasn’t tested those numbers. I sat near Esther Lim, who created the book, at a Department of Homeland Security panel discussion a few weeks ago. I said outloud that these resource numbers are being distributed without being vetted. I was the victim of an anti-Asian hate crime. At this point, I have tested every single phone number that was given to me by anti-Asian hate resource providers. They’re mostly useless.

A supermarket employee verbally threatened to beat me up. I had done nothing to her. She assumed that I didn’t speak English and I wouldn’t say anything back. I should have called the police on the spot, so they could speak to witnesses. I didn’t. I was too shaken and angry. I just wanted to go home. A lot of things that I thought were obvious later became obfuscated. The supermarket is a national chain. They did an internal investigation and got witness statements from people who heard the employee make criminal threats of physical violence against me. However, when a LAPD detective investigated months later, she failed to request those statements. She failed to seek out witnesses.

No, I am not pro-police. But I believe in public safety and safety for all. I don’t see alternatives to policing being implemented in Koreatown. As such, Koreatown is where I and many Korean Americans feel the least safe, in particular older or elder Koreans.

I don’t think the supermarket employee should go unpunished either. She needs to take anger management classes and diversity classes. So far, I have had her tormented with investigations. She was fired because of the incident. She lied to the investigating LAPD detective. There are witness statements about what happened. Witnesses corroborate my allegations.

The supermarket’s third party insurance adjustor offered me a $500 settlement. I refused it. What a joke and an insult.

I received no assistance from Korean or Asian American organizations for resources or systems navigation. These are orgs that got “Stop The Hate” funding. All the orgs that know about the incident believe me. Everyone government office I’ve spoken to believes me.

What is abundantly clear to me is that very few people, if any, have experience engaging with an Asian American person who wants to pursue hate crime charges and receive services for a hate crime. If I have barriers to access, how are LEP (Limited English Proficient) Koreans or Asians faring? They’re being ignored.

The LAPD initially refused to take my criminal report. I had to report an officer for misconduct. They eventually took a criminal report, but refused to take a hate crime report.

I was told by a Korean American LAPD officer that the LAPD is not trained to take hate crime reports. The training will happen this year.

I was told by a Korean American FBI agent that the FBI is trying to implement hate crime training. Maybe it will happen this year. Yes, I filed a federal hate crime complaint.

Los Angeles City started a new office, LA City Civil, Human Rights, and Equity Department. The special investigator I spoke to said that he agrees I was a victim of a racially motivated hate crime. The department took my case, but there’s been very little progress.

Asian Americans for Advancing Justice SoCal was the slowest to get back to me. It took them months. They finally said that none of their pro-bono attorneys would take my case because they all work for corporate law firms who don’t want to be involved in legal action against a corporation.

I submitted an online report to Stop AAPI Hate. I got an email months later and I ended up speaking a good listener. But the person didn’t connect me to services or offer resources. He also works at AAPI Equity Alliance, who is listed as a resource for 211 (LA County) or LAvsHate.

I called LA vs Hate and got a care manager who calls me every once in awhile. She’s a nice person, but again, no real services or resources. A whole lot of money and energy has been spent on getting a small number of people to acknowledge that anti-Asian hate even exists.

The California Department of Civil Rights accepted my complaint. The investigation should have started recently. I complained under the Ralphs Act and Unruh Act. The employee and the supermarket could face fines.

I was at a panel discussion with the Department of Homeland Security in March 2023 and I mentioned the hate crime committed against me. I said the implementation doesn’t exist. I specifically mentioned the ideological underpinnings of treating Asian Americans as perpetual foreigners who are extractive. White supremacist settler colonial narratives are used against Asian Americans by whites and other people of color, “We will burn down Korean or Asian business and our businesses will rise in their place.” Insert other people of color for “our”.