The weekend vandalism of San Antonio’s Noodle Tree restaurant appears to be a deplorable sign that Bexar County’s Asian American community is the latest target of hate-motivated crime.
“I have seen the horrific acts of violence and vandalism committed against people across this country just because they are Asian American, but I am saddened and angered that it may have happened in our community. The Noodle Tree, like many other San Antonio businesses lawfully chose to require masks in its establishment. That someone would take such offense and use racist language to protest is not going to be tolerated. My office will prosecute the offender(s) to the full extent of the law,” Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said.
The Texas Hate Crimes Act defines hate crimes as crimes that are motivated by prejudice, hatred or advocacy of violence and are committed by a person(s) who intentionally selected a victim or property because of that person’s bias or prejudice against a group identified by race, color, disability, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, gender or sexual preference.
“If found guilty of an offense that includes a hate crime enhancement, the accused faces the punishment range for the next higher offense. The State of Texas recognized years ago that these hate-motivated crimes need to be taken seriously and we will not allow this to happen in Bexar County,” Gonzales said.
Anyone who has information on a hate crime or any other offense should report it to law enforcement so that it may be thoroughly investigated.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The latest Texas Crime Report shows an increase in the total number of hate crime incidents reported in 2019 (407) compared to 2018 (380). The most common motivation for hate crimes was race/ethnicity/ancestry (64.5%). While vandalism (19.4%) accounts for some of the hate crimes committed, intimidation (18.5%), aggravated assault (15.8%) and simple assault (28.3%) were also committed.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation provided the following statement:
“Under federal law, a hate crime is defined as a violent criminal act against a person or property, motivated in whole or in part, by an offender's bias against a race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity. Investigating hate crimes is one of the FBI's highest priorities. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to protect our community from hate-fueled violence,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs.