NorCal community stands behind 2 Asian-American teens assaulted by racist
By Gilda Balan, Correspondent
SAN RAMON, California – What could be more normal for a pair of teenagers in Northern California than to spend some time at a popular burger joint enjoying the food and the pleasant December weather while watching a TikTok video?
On the day before Christmas, last year, this is precisely what two teenagers of Asian descent were doing at an In-N-Out Burger place in San Ramon when a Colorado man whom police later identified as 40-year-old Jordan Krah attacked the pair with racist and homophobic comments.
That same man would, on Christmas Day, confront an Asian man at a mall parking lot and spat at him.
Prosecutors have charged Krah with hate crimes for his assault on the teenagers, as well as battery in the second incident.
This, after the first incident was caught on video and posted online, quickly exceeding four million views. This caused the police to hunt him down and capture him while he was inside a mall.
Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said, “A threat to one ethnic community is a threat to all communities.” She added that there was no place for hate crimes in Contra County.
After his arrest, Krah posted bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 1. He faces a maximum sentence of one year and six months if convicted on two counts of hate crimes.
It was also learned that Krah faces one count of vehicle robbery in Colorado and authorities there are likely to seek his extradition.
The victims themselves had taken the video on their cellphone, and it showed a man asking them if they always filmed themselves while eating, after which he hurled a homophobic comment at them.
The man, later identified as Krah, asked if they were Japanese or Korean. When they said they were Korean, Krah then made a comment about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He proceeded to make racist and abusive comments before leaving.
The two friends said they were overwhelmed by the widespread support they had received from the community and were thankful at the quick arrest of the suspect.
Arine Kim and Elliot Ha said in a radio interview that they were planning on trying out some items of the restaurant’s secret menu when the verbal assault took place.
“Honestly, I’m very overwhelmed by the support,” said Kim, who added that she first hesitated on calling the police.
She said, “I think for us, especially for a lot of people of color, a lot of Asian Americans that go through hate crimes…you don’t think that someone will ever take you seriously.”
Kim said the police told her that “nothing is too small to be reported.”
Kim also said that she bore no hatred for Krah, and hoped he not only finds the help he needs, but also “find it in his heart to be able to make positive changes within himself.”
Kim said a friend of hers, a Filipino-American, had also received racist insults from Krah, but opted not to respond to the insults out of fear that the situation could deteriorate and the attacker would get a gun or a knife.
Since the incident, Kim and Ha said they have been at the receiving end of various forms of kindness from the community. In a return to In-N-Out, for example, a customer whom they did not know paid for their meals.