Alameda County prosecutor charges Fremont man with hate crime

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged a Union City man with committing a hate crime after a confrontation at a fast food restaurant earlier this month, authorities said.

In a statement, Fremont Police said officers responded around 8:20 p.m. Aug. 21 to the Taco Bell at 40660 Grimmer Blvd., for a report of a disturbance.

When officers arrived, they found and separated two men who were arguing. They escorted a man to the parking lot and made sure he left the scene.

Other officers spoke with the remaining man, who said the other man disparaged a particular religion and used “extremely offensive and hurtful language”, police said.

Initially, police were unable to establish a hate crime and noted that the man, who was not arrested, made no physical threats.

But officers then viewed cellphone video that appeared to capture some of the interaction before officers arrived. In that video, officers saw the second man direct “specific religious slurs and derogatory comments,” police said.

After contacting the victim for another interview, officers presented a case to the District Attorney’s Office, which charged a 37-year-old Union City man with a civil rights hate crime and disturbing the peace.

The man, who was not in custody on Monday evening, faces an unspecified court date.

In comments about the video’s appearance on social media, Fremont Police Chief Sean Washington said the department takes hate crimes seriously.

“These incidents are despicable. We are here to protect all members of the community, regardless of gender, race, nationality, religion and other differences,” Washington said.

“We would like to urge the community to respect each other and to immediately report any circumstance like this which, upon investigation, could rise to the level of a crime. In the event of a hate crime, we will dedicate all available resources to follow up and investigate.

“Fremont is one of the most diverse communities in the country, and we are grateful for the contributions of community members from different cultures and backgrounds.”

Anyone with information can email Fremont Police Sgt. Kim Macdonald at FremontPDPIO@fremont.gov or call 510-790-6802.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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