Oakland police arrest Berkeley man on suspicion of anti-Asian hate crimes

A yellow tape that reads "Police Line Do Not Cross" cuts across a street.
Daniel Kim /File
Oakland Police Department started an investigation on alleged anti-Asian hate crimes through social media. After confirming the existence of these posts, the police were able to identify the suspect as a Berkeley man.

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Oakland Police Department announced Tuesday that it arrested a Berkeley man for alleged criminal threats made on social media involving hate crimes against the Asian community.

On Feb. 11, Oakland police received tips from their media partners about “troubling statements directed towards the Asian community on social media,” according to an OPD press release. The police then initiated an investigation on the social media activity, and investigators were able to confirm the existence of threatening and hateful online posts through the suspect’s social media handle.

Police identified the suspect, who is a resident of the city of Berkeley, and took him into custody Monday, according to the press release. The suspect reported for a court appearance and was later booked into jail for alleged criminal threats involving hate crimes, probation violation and weapons charges. The suspect is currently being held without bail, the press release added.

“The Oakland Police Department takes all hate crimes, hate speech and threats against any member of our diverse and inclusive community seriously,” said OPD Chief LeRonne Armstrong in the press release. “I ask you to stand with me as we unite against hate.”

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office will review OPD’s case as it considers charging the suspect for criminal threats involving hate crimes, according to the press release.

With a surge of anti-Asian hate crimes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple instances of violent anti-Asian statements and attacks have been documented in the past few months, with some going viral on social media. Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting database for victims of bias, hate or violence, received almost 3,000 accounts of hate crimes since spring 2020.

Recent reports of assaults and robberies within the Oakland Chinatown neighborhood and community have also been emphasized across various platforms.

Check back for updates.

Thao Nguyen is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.