Individual receives prison sentence for deliberately driving vehicle into 2021 Stop Asian Hate protest

A California man has been sentenced to one year in prison by the Justice Department for driving through a crowded crosswalk of peaceful demonstrators while shouting racial slurs during a “Stop Asian Hate” rally in 2021, according to an announcement made on Thursday.

Steve Lee Dominguez, aged 58 and hailing from Diamond Bar, California, received his sentencing from a United States district court judge. This came after he pleaded guilty in October 2023 to a single count of bias-motivated interference with federally protected activities, as stated by the Justice Department.

“This defendant aimed to restrict the rights of peaceful demonstrators with their hateful attack,” stated United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “While differing opinions are an essential aspect of a thriving democracy, we must not tolerate acts of violence against individuals who hold different beliefs. My office will persist in protecting civil rights for every member of our community.”

“The Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Mehtab Syed, emphasized that Mr. Dominguez targeted innocent civilians who were courageously defending the rights of Asian individuals in our society. Their cause was just, to protect against hateful attacks,” Syed stated. “This sentencing exemplifies the FBI’s unwavering dedication to upholding Constitutionally-protected rights and ensuring that those who disregard them will face the consequences.”

The Justice Department stated that the purpose of the 2021 Stop Asian Hate rally was to bring attention to the growing number of hate crimes and incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Five days prior to the incident in California, six Asian American women were tragically murdered in Atlanta.

According to the Justice Department officials, the individual intentionally drove his car through the intersection’s crosswalk while the traffic light was red. He proceeded to make an illegal U-turn into oncoming traffic, obstructing the pathway of several rally participants who were lawfully crossing the street. It is important to note that the majority of these individuals were women, along with a young child.

Dominguez came dangerously close to hitting several protesters and even a 9-year-old child. After getting out of his car, he proceeded to hurl racist taunts at the gathered crowd, according to reports from NBC.

Dominguez had been released on a $30,000 bond since May 2022, following his arrest for his participation in the incident.

According to local media reports, in October 2023, Dominguez admitted guilt to a single count of bias-motivated interference with federally protected activities.

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