US hate crime: Texas woman convicted for racially assaulting Asian American women in viral 2022 incident - Hindustan Times
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US hate crime: Texas woman convicted for racially assaulting Asian American women in viral 2022 incident

BySumanti Sen
Jun 20, 2024 11:13 AM IST

Esmeralda Upton, 59, was convicted on Friday, June 14, of three misdemeanour assault charges and one misdemeanour charge of terroristic threat.

A woman in Plano, Texas, has been convicted on charges of hate crime after allegedly physically and verbally attacking several Asian American women in 2022. The Collin County District Attorney has announced that 59-year-old Esmeralda Upton was convicted on Friday, June 14, of three misdemeanour assault charges and one misdemeanour charge of terroristic threat. Each charge includes a state hate crime enhancement.

Texas woman Esmeralda Upton (R) convicted in racially assault of Asian American women in viral 2022 incident (@JohnnyAkzam/X)
Texas woman Esmeralda Upton (R) convicted in racially assault of Asian American women in viral 2022 incident (@JohnnyAkzam/X)

In August 2022, Upton allegedly attacked four South Asian women outside the Sixty Vines Restaurant in Plano, trying to hit three of them and threatening the other, asking them to “go back to India.” The victims recorded the incident on their phones, and the video soon went viral.

The victims were of South Asian descent. Upton continued to pass racial remarks even after Plano Police arrived on the scene. She was subsequently arrested on state charges, and later pleaded guilty to the four charges.

According to a statement by the Collin County District Attorney, “Upton was sentenced to two years of community supervision probation and 40 days confinement in the Collin County Jail for each of the cases. The incarceration will be served concurrently, and Upton was assessed a fine of $500 in each case.”

“As Americans, we should all be able to enjoy our constitutional liberties, free and secure from this type of racially motivated assault,” said Greg Willis, Collin County district attorney. “Indeed, America is the only nation on earth defined more by its ideals than by race or ethnicity. I’d like to thank United States Attorney Damien Diggs and his prosecutors, the Plano Police Department, and the FBI Dallas Field Office for their work and partnership on this important case.”

What does the video show?

When one of the victims described Upton as white, she said she is Mexican American. Upton was heard saying in the video, “I was born here.” She also made remarks like “we don’t want you here” and “if things were so great in your country, then stay there.”

At one point, Upton appeared to walk away, but quickly returned and physically attacked the victims. The phone that was being used to record the video was visibly knocked off. One of the victims tried to explain that she is a naturalised citizen, to which Upton responded, You’re a naturalised citizen. You’re not a born and raised citizen.”

One of the victims, Anamika Chatterjee, read a statement before Upton’s sentencing. “My American-born children look like Indians. Because of your hatred and attack, I am now constantly scared for them,” Chatterjee reportedly said.

“That’s the worst effect of what you did to me—that constant worry and anxiety. It continues to astonish me that a person with a minority background like yourself—which you bragged about during the incident—would behave like this, without a trace of shame,” she added.

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