DIAMOND BAR, Calif. - A Diamond Bar man pleaded guilty this week to civil rights offenses when he drove his car through a red light toward "Stop Asian Hate" demonstrators during a 2021 rally, the Department of Justice announced.
Steve Lee Dominguez pleaded guilty Thursday to one felony count of bias-motivated interference with federally protected activities.
It happened back on March 21, 2021. Demonstrators organized a "Stop Asian Hate" rally in Diamond Bar, protesting the rise in hate crimes against members of the AAPI community. During the rally, a group gathered at the intersection of Diamond Bar Boulevard and Grand Avenue. As they were protesting, they crossed the street in the intersection. That's when, according to the plea deal, Dominguez drove his car through the red light, toward protesters.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Video: Man drives toward 'Stop Asian Hate' demonstrators in Diamond Bar
It was all captured on cell phone video. Dominguez pushed through the intersection, made a U-turn, and then went back through the crosswalk. As he did so, the DOJ said, he hurled curses and racial slurs at the demonstrators. Asking them to "go back to China," and calling some of the Black protesters the n-word. While Dominguez didn't hit anyone as he drove through the intersection, he narrowly missed several demonstrators, including a 9-year-old girl, the DOJ said.
After driving through the intersection, Dominguez then pulled over, got out of his car, and continued hurling threats and slurs at the demonstrators. He even called police, the DOJ said, and falsely claimed that the demonstrators were blocking the street when in fact they were crossing the street legally, and that he had to drive through the red light "because they were about to trample my car."
"The right to political expression is a bedrock principle of this nation," said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. "Mr. Dominguez’s decision to attack a peaceful rally meant to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate was both unlawful and un-American."
Dominguez is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6, 2024, and will face up to one year in prison, per his plea agreement.