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Prosecutors: Woman Charged In Mountain View Anti-Asian Attack Spit On Man Having Lunch

MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS SF) – A woman charged with a hate crime in connection with an anti-Asian attack in Mountain View last month is expected to appear in court Monday. Meanwhile, prosecutors released additional details about the incident.

According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, 39-year-old Karen Marie Inman of Greenbrae faces possible jail time if convicted on the misdemeanor and a charge of battery in connection with the February 13 attack at a restaurant near the corner of Castro and Villa streets.

Karen Inman
Karen Inman. (Mountain View Police)

Prosecutors said the victim was having lunch outside with a friend when Inman spat on him and used an ethnic slur.

"Our community stands together against any hatred and racism against the Asian Pacific Islander community," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "It is ignorant. It is wrong. And when it is criminal - those who are charged will face the full power of my Office to hold them accountable."

A fellow diner who saw the suspect approach other people of Asian descent in the area but did not know how she spoke with them, called police, according to prosecutors.

According to Mountain View Police, Inman is also suspected of stealing food and clothing from a store on the 200 block of Castro around the same time, telling the victims that he did not have to pay because of their Asian ancestry.

Following the incidents, police said the suspect was detained but later released after the victims said they did not desire to prosecute and neither incident was witnessed by officers. Police continued the investigation due to a department policy on proactively investigating hate crimes.

"Hate crimes have not and will not be tolerated in Mountain View and as this case demonstrates, we take these crimes seriously and will investigate them to the fullest extent," Chief Chris Hsiung said last week.

The District Attorney's office concluded that hate crime charges could be brought and an arrest warrant was issued for Inman, who was arrested Friday in connection with a theft at a Smart and Final Store on East El Camino Real.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise in the Bay Area and across the country, driven in part by false political rhetoric blaming Asian-Americans for the pandemic, prosecutors said.

Inman is scheduled to be arraigned Monday afternoon at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

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