Virus-related Asian hate crime: Korean woman victim of racially motivated attack in Santa Monica

A 65-year-old man is accused of hate crime after police say he attacked and tried to rob an Asian woman in Santa Monica.

The Santa Monica Police Department responded to a call in the 1500 block of 2nd Street last Friday at about 2:15 p.m. A woman told officers on scene that she and her father-in-law were trying to pay for street parking when she was confronted by the suspect, Melvin Taylor.

According to the woman, Taylor asked about her ethnicity and demanded money. When the woman refused to give Taylor money, the man – believed to be homeless – became upset.

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The woman tried to get back in her car, but Taylor allegedly kicked the car door, pinning the woman between the car door and the car's frame. Police say Taylor continued to hit her. and then grabbed the woman's phone and threw it to the ground before trying to snatch her purse.

According to Los Angeles County DA George Gascón's office, at one point in the attack, Taylor allegedly yelled racial slurs and mentioned the virus.

Bystanders stepped in to help the woman, who was ultimately able to keep her purse.

In a press release published Tuesday, Gascón vowed to stop hate crime in the Los Angeles County community.

"A hate crime against one of us is truly a crime against all of us," Gascón said in a press release.

Taylor is being charged with one felony count each of attempted second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon (a car door) and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to Gascón's office.

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