SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Authorities say the brutal attack on an East Indian man in a grocery store parking lot in San Jose last year does not qualify as a hate crime.
Atul Lall reported to authorities and the press that he was the victim of a hate crime when he was badly beaten on Nov. 21, 2011.
“They called me a terrorist while they were hitting me,” Lall recounted to reporters last month. “I think they called me other stuff but it’s hard to tell because after getting hit with a bottle…it’s hard to hear what’s going on.”
Since that statement police are no longer saying that what happened in the Lucky lot on the 3200 block of S. White Rd. was motivated by hate. Instead, they have released surveillance video showing Lall’s sports car nearly hitting two men in that parking lot. Detectives now believe that it was that initial encounter that motivated the attack, prompting prosecutors to abandon any plans to file a hate crime enhancement against the 21-year-old man who was arrested last week in the beating.
Emilio Romayor was arrested on March 2 on suspicion of attacking Lall. Authorities made the arrest based on an anonymous tip, and they believe he is one of the two men seen nearly being hit by Lall’s car on the surveillance video.
KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:
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