Jordan Douglas Krah has been charged with two misdemeanor charges of battery and committing a hate crime after spitting on someone and making bigoted comments in California's East Bay over the Christmas holiday weekend, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.
Krah, a Denver resident, is also facing charges there for vehicular assault.
"A threat to one ethnic community is a threat to all communities," Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement Thursday. "There is no place for hate crime in Contra Costa County. I commend the San Ramon Police Department for their response to this incident along with the joint efforts of law enforcement locally and in Colorado."
If convicted, Krah could be sentenced to a maximum of 18 months in county jail.
Krah was arrested Monday by San Ramon police on two hate crime charges for making racist and homophobic comments toward two college students on Dec. 24. He was held in custody at Martinez Detention Facility in Martinez, California, before posting bond the next day.
San Ramon Police Chief Denton Carlson announced the arrest in a tweet Monday evening.
"The San Ramon Police Department strives to ensure everyone in our community feels safe and welcome. We will continue to take swift and diligent legal action against acts of hate to help create an inclusive place for all to live, work and visit," the department said in a press release.
On Christmas Eve, Arine Kim and her friend Elliot Ha were eating at an In-N-Out Burger in San Ramon when they were approached by a man who cornered them with racist insults.
The pair were recording a TikTok video and trying menu items when he approached, calling them "weird homosexuals," before returning to make other bigoted remarks about their race and ethnicities.
"I personally couldn't believe it. I didn't believe it was real, it was so random," Ha, who initially responded with nervous, shocked humor, told San Francisco ABC station KGO.
"It's a fear response, so you're nervous and you don't know what to do in that situation but to laugh it off," Kim said, adding that she was grateful for Ha's humor at the time.
In the video, Ha said he had never experienced anything like that before. For Kim, however, this was an unfortunate reminder of hate speech she's encountered in the past.
She told KGO that this was not the first time she'd been attacked with racist slurs and epithets.
In the video, Kim said the man stared at them from outside the restaurant for a while, prompting them to have the fast food restaurant's staff escort them to the parking lot over fears of being followed.
Only a few miles away in Danville, a woman named Abigail Halili said she and her family were met with similar comments on Christmas morning.
With a rise in violence against Asian Americans across the country, advocates have launched initiatives to make necessary change.
"It's the realization this is real and that affects people you know, you love, that are close to you," Ha told KGO. "That's why people are finding ways to spread awareness, because it's an issue that does matter. It's a real thing and people need to be aware of it."
Reported anti-Asian hate crime events in the state increased by an alarming 177.5% from 2020 to 2021, according to the California Department of Justice's Hate Crime in California report, released in June. Many other incidents go unreported.