There is always a fascination of what a criminal does. What is his MO, modus operandi? What weapon did he have? Was he on drugs? What was he wearing?
I’d like to focus – for a minute at least – on what hate crime victims were doing.
They were crossing the street. They were shopping at a grocery store. They were waiting for a train to go to work. They were eating a burger and fries. They were parking. They were wearing bindis.
And now – for some in this community and perhaps even in this room – those simple activities have become suspect, scary.
They look outside before leaving their homes. They cross the street to avoid strangers or tense up as they walk by. They worry about their children and their grandparents.
Their very freedom to exist seems constrained.
It is my job to make sure your freedoms, your family’s freedoms, are protected by the rule of law.
When women wearing South Asian attire were targeted by a necklace snatcher, we carefully evaluated the case. There are many jurisdictions, I believe, that would have filed this as a simple burglary. The defendant made no pejorative comments as he tore of their necklaces, hurled the woman to the ground, punched their husbands in the face. My team analyzed this crime spree with care and common sense.
I say to you and our Indian American community that anyone who targets and attacks you will be arrested and treated with the utmost severity under our law. Santa Clara County’s precious diversity is our strength, our superpower – not a criminal opportunity.
Our streets are for you. Our stores are for you. Our schools and companies are for you. And you will not be treated as sheep by wolves.
I hope that this message is heard loudly and clearly by anyone who seeks to prey upon us, foolish enough to think we are divided in some way, that some of us will be seen as vulnerable because they are newer, somehow lesser.
Do not make this mistake. We are here together tonight to show our solidarity and strength. With every woman walking down the street wearing a sari and a necklace, with every family crossing the street, holding hands, with every proud community leader in this room, with every person living their lives in this wonderful and diverse county, my team and the rest of law enforcement are there with them.
Hatred has no home in Santa Clara County.
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