Los Angeles: LAPD Investigate Possible Hate Crime Koreatown Attack on Asian-American Air Force Veteran

Raven Haengel, Photographer, Writer

On February 16th in Koreatown, Los Angeles: 27-year-old U.S. Air Force Veteran Denny Kim was verbally and physically attacked by two men who called Kim racial slurs and swung at him causing him to fall over. The two men were saying anti-Asian slurs and called him “Chinese virus..” Kim was going to meet a friend at a nearby restaurant near Kenmore Avenue and Sixth Street. Kim said to KTLA 5, “Just all sorts of nasty things,” “[It was] absolutely unprovoked. I did not know who these guys were,” Kim’s friend Joseph Cha witnessed the incident and said “When I was dropped off, I heard a bunch of screaming. I saw two suspects just beating him up,” “So that is when I was screaming. When I say that I was screaming, I was chasing them,” he explained. “They had seen my presence and they were scared.” Cha was also a victim to the racial slurs and the men told him to mind his own business. When Cha confronted the two men, “And they said, ‘all f—ing Asians gotta die,’” After the two men ran off, Kim was left with a black eye and a broken nose. According to NBC News, Police Detective Hee Cho has confirmed that an investigation is underway, and that the incident involving Denny Kim is being treated as a potential hate crime. Kim told NBC News, “I was terrified for my life, as you can see the physical injuries on my face,” “And I didn’t know what to think of it. It was all just a blur. … I was just trying to defend my life.” Kim wrote in a text message to NBC News saying “They told me they were going to kill me. That is when my friend Joseph Cha arrived and saved my life. He chased and scared the aggressors away,” Cha also wrote a text message to NBC News saying, “What Denny went through, no one should go through in any community, not just the Asian community,” Assembly Member Miquel Santiago posted on Twitter his response to incident, “The attack that Denny Kim endured in Koreatown where he was beaten and mocked with racial slurs in unequivocally a hate crime,” “This is part of a larger fight against racism right here in our backyards. We got rid of Trump, but we did not get rid of the racist sentiment across our country.”