San Diego man sentenced for battery, hate crime against Asian American officer


"STOP HATE" is written in black font on a white paint. There's a red circle surrounding the white.

SAN DIEGO (City News Service) — A San Diego man who struck an Asian American police officer and yelled racial insults at the lawman pleaded guilty June 5 to battery on a peace officer and a hate crime allegation.

John Richards, 68, was immediately sentenced to one year of probation and 141 days in custody, 60 of which to be served in an inpatient residential treatment program, according to the San Diego City Attorney’s Office.

Richards was being transported to a hospital on Aug. 26, 2022, when he “began hurling racial insults at an Asian American police officer, while also yelling that the officer should have been killed,” the City Attorney’s Office said.

He then hit the officer and tried to kick him, according to the City Attorney’s Office, which highlighted the incident as an example of a rising trend of hate-related crimes against Asian Americans at the time.

“Our country has witnessed an unacceptable level of anti-Asian hate crimes, which is why we are determined to respond forcefully to every local incident,” San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott said in a statement. “This police officer was simply doing his job when he was attacked because of his Asian ancestry. We all have an obligation to confront race-based hatred when we see it.”

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