A Filipino family in America became the victims of what is being investigated as a hate crime after being attacked by a man who bumped into their car at a drive-thru in North Hollywood, California.
ABS-CBN News reported that Patricia Roque and her mother Nerissa were getting takeout at 10pm when a jeep bumped into their family car.
“As we were about to get our drive-thru, someone bumped the back of our car and we immediately went ahead and called 911 and our dad to help us,” Patricia narrated. “It transpired more after that. What started off as a minor traffic collision escalated into something more dangerous, something that we never would have expected.”
As seen in a video taken by Patricia, the man began verbally attacking the mother and daughter, mocking them in a racist accent saying, “You’re so Asian” and “I’ll kill you.”
Patricia’s father, Gabriel arrived a few minutes later to help get the mother and daughter out of the car but the attacker immediately went for the 60-year-old and punched him to the ground.
“I thought he was going to leave but he didn’t. He came back and said mean words about Asians. We didn’t know what to do. We were scared, especially with my daughter there. We needed help and I called my husband. Then when my husband came, he tried to go to our car to open our car, to get our daughter, and my husband tried to stop him, then he punched my husband who fell to the ground. And when I tried to help, he started choking me,” Nerissa tearfully shared.
Gabriel sustained a broken rib.
While bystanders attempted to intervene and police arrived on the scene shortly after, the traumatic incident has left the Roque family with physical and emotional scars.
“It’s different when it happens to your family. We don’t think what we see on TV will happen, but when it happens to your family, it’s traumatizing. And up to now, the pain… He was supposed to hit me but I was able to avoid it. Then he hit my chest. The pain is still here, and I remember what he did,” Nerissa said.
Marginalized victims’ rights lawyers Sandy Roxas and Adrian Roxas have stepped in as the family’s pro bono attorneys.
While authorities have not released the suspect’s identity pending investigation, he remains under police custody.