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PH LA Consulate, LAPD hold 'Hate Crime Town Hall' with Roque family

Steve Angeles | TFC News Los Angeles

Posted at Sep 03 2022 05:38 PM

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It was a day of dialogue for the Filipino family attacked in a fast food parking lot in North Hollywood, California last May. 

The Roque family met with Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos to talk about some of the aid the consulate can provide as their case goes through the legal process. 

"They asked about the extent of the assistance that the Philippine government can really provide to the family and I described to them the extent of assistance we can provide within the limits of the applicable laws," Badajos noted.

After their private meeting, they brought in community members and streamed a town hall with members of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to address their efforts in combating anti-Asian hate crimes. 

The town hall gave a chance for the Roque family to express their concerns about how their case was handled - from the initial release and delayed apprehension of the perpetrator to the police officers who originally discouraged them from pursuing the case. 

"We were dealt with questions like, 'do you really want to continue with this case? It costs so much to have a lawyer. Are you sure you really want to do this? It sounds like it’ll be resolved in a short amount of time.' So questions like that were being asked," Patricia Roque said. "I feel like that's something victims should not have been given in the first place."

LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Oreb noted, "our goal is always to investigate these crimes to the fullest and if you had a problem with an individual, a detective, officer or anybody involved in this, then you can bring it to my attention and we will investigate it as we have a disciplinary process as well. If you think or feel, if any type of misconduct occurred, we have a system in place to address that as well."

Law enforcement officials say the number of reported hate crimes remains at the same pace as last year. However they worry that incidents are often under-reported. 

They're urging the Filipino community to step forward to report not just crimes, but incidents as well, something the Philippine consulate is keeping close watch of. 

"This is a very important mission because it provides a wealth of information on the resources available to our Filipino community members who may be affected by this problem," Badajos said.

While the family patriarch Gabriel still suffers some pain from a rib injury sustained during the attack, they continue to have bouts with trauma as well.

Their perpetrator Nicholas Weber remains in custody. As the Roque family and their supporters await justice, they will be looking into the different services provided for victims. 

The case is scheduled for court on September 30th, but before that, the family is scheduled to meet with district attorneys to discuss possibly increasing the charges against Weber.