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Hate crime enhancements dropped in Roque family’s Asian hate case

Steve Angeles | TFC News Van Nuys California

Posted at Apr 19 2023 05:21 PM

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A California judge has ruled that the Asian hate case involving a Filipino-American family will proceed to trial after the preliminary hearings earlier this month.

But the suspect in the Roque family's case, Nicholas Weber, will not face hate crime enhancements in his charges, which include two felony battery counts.

"It’s really disappointing how we’ve been treated so far and how the justice system is treating this case when it’s really obvious this is a hate crime," said Patrick Roque, a family member. "It’s really obvious from the video that it was a hate crime."

Preliminary hearing for Roque family's Asian hate case begins

Activists who have supported the Roque family have vowed to continue their fight for justice.

Since the alleged attack against the family almost a year ago, the victims said they are still recovering from their trauma and injuries.

"This is not the end," said Ysabel Roque. "This has just always been the beginning of something."

The activists said that while they were disappointed that the hate crime enhancements were dropped, they were not surprised with the ruling.

Statistics from the California justice department showed that from 2015 to 2021, only less than half of the hate cases filed by district attorneys and city officials led to a conviction.

Roque family recounts anti-Asian hate attack during three-day pretrial

A video from the May 2022 incident showed Weber hurling anti-Asian remarks against the Roques. He also threatened to kill Nerissa and her daughter Patricia, after Weber's jeep rear-ended their vehicle at a fast food drive-thru.

Despite what transpired in the footage, the judge ruled that the sequence of events did not show that the physical attack was racially-motivated.

But the judge ruled that Weber's physical attack on Gabriel Roque caused significant injury.

Anakbayan USA denounced the decision and said what it witnessed "up there was not justice."

"Because the hateful words that Weber said happened minutes before the assault, there is no probable cause for a hate crime," said Dominico Vega of Anakbayan USA. "The tragedy is those few minutes were enough for them to see that wasn’t a hate crime, but the Roque family has to live for the rest of their lives knowing they were assaulted because they’re Asian."

Weber is scheduled to return to court for his arraignment on May 1, a few days before the anniversary of the incident.