Cincinnati man charged with federal hate crime after attacking Asian American student at UC

Darrin Johnson previously pleaded guilty to state charges related to the attack.

November 4, 2022, 3:01 PM

A Cincinnati man has been charged with committing a federal hate crime after he allegedly attacked an Asian American University of Cincinnati student.

Darrin Johnson is accused of attacking a male student on Aug. 17, 2021. When university police arrived on the scene, the victim was on the sidewalk with bleeding lacerations on his face, according to a federal indictment.

Johnson pleaded guilty in Hamilton County municipal court to a misdemeanor assault in relation to the incident.

The victim told police the suspect had punched him while making racist comments including a reference to "kung flu." At one point the suspect threatened to kill the victim, according to the federal indictment.

The victim told police that he was outside of an apartment building getting ready to go on a run when he heard the suspect say "Go back to your country … you brought the kung flu here .. you're going to die for bringing it," the indictment said.

PHOTO: University of Cincinnati entrance sign is seen in this stock photo in Cincinnati, on Feb. 27, 2021.
University of Cincinnati entrance sign is seen in this stock photo in Cincinnati, on Feb. 27, 2021.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

The suspect then allegedly brought his fists up in a fighting posture and began jumping up and down, saying "Wanna fight?" The victim raised his hands with open palms and responded "No," according to the indictment.

The suspect then allegedly punched the victim on the side of his head. The victim fell from the force of the punch, hitting his head on the bumper of a parked car, according to the indictment.

A witness told police that when they ran to the scene, the victim had blood dripping from his face. The witness made physical contact with the suspect and another bystander grabbed the suspect in a bear hug and held him to the ground, the indictment said.

When police arrived at the scene, they told the bystander to release the suspect, who then escaped and ran away after being initially restrained, according to the indictment.

University police and the Cincinnati Police Department pursued the suspect and eventually found him in a parking lot near a recreation center, the indictment said. He was placed under arrest.

The victim was transferred to a hospital where he was treated for a head injury and facial lacerations. He suffered a minor concussion and received stitches by his eye, according to the indictment.

According to the FBI, hate crimes against Asians rose 76% in 2020. In 2020, 279 hate crime incidents against individuals of Asian descent were reported compared to 158 incidents reported in 2019.

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