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Cupertino: Man charged with hate crime for physically, verbally abusing T-Mobile employees

Mercury News logo Mercury News 6/5/2022 Maggie Angst, Kayla Jimenez, Bay Area News Group

Santa Clara County prosecutors have charged a 61-year-old man with felony hate crime after allegedly yelling ethnic slurs — including “(expletive) Chinese, you don’t belong here,” and “stupid Mexicans” — at two T-Mobile employees, a Hispanic woman and an Asian man.

Clifford Stewart of Cupertino allegedly attacked the Hispanic woman on June 1 by kicking her in the stomach and punching her in the face, causing her to temporarily lose her vision, according to a news release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

After the man intervened to protect his female colleague, Stewart fled to a sports store nearby where he was arrested by county sheriff’s deputies.

The two employees were allegedly trying to recover a sign that Stewart vandalized at the store when he threatened them both “solely on the basis of their race,” the release said. Stewart is also facing misdemeanor counts of vandalism, assault and threatening an officer who arrested him after the store workers called the police for help.

While he was being taken into custody, Stewart allegedly threatened to kill an officer and said, “All you piece of (expletive) people sneak into this country, have a baby, and get a free apartment,” according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“Hate crimes send an ugly and ignorant message to our community that certain people are not welcome here,” said Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “My response is that I will do everything in my power to hold criminal racists accountable in court. Hate is not welcome here.”

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This marks the second hate crime charged by Santa Clara prosecutors in just two days.

On June 2, a 33-year-old woman was charged with a misdemeanor hate crime after authorities said she attacked a customer and directed racial epithets at a manager at a Mountain View coffee shop.

According to a news release from prosecutors, the woman walked into a Starbucks on San Antonio Road and started yelling at the store manager, telling him he “should go back to your country” and that she would have him “deported back to Mexico.”

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