SAN JOSE -- In San Jose, there were two separate attacks on street vendors in two days. The latest came on Saturday morning. The incident was captured on video and it has been widely seen -- and condemned -- on social media.
As the video begins, you can see two men running toward Carlos Sanchez who was recording the incident. One of them began yelling from a distance.
"I told you to leave! Why didn't you leave? Get out of here!" said the man as he shoves him with a baseball bat. "Get out of here! Leave! Get out of here!"
Sanchez had been manning his barbecue grill on the road outside of Intex Auto Parts when the owner of the business, identified as Kenny Ho, decided to take what he considered an illegal matter into his own hands.
"This is wrong. This is illegal!" says Ho in the video. "You being illegal -- you recording that? No problem. Go ahead. You are a criminal!" Then Ho grabs a can of lighter fluid from the barbecue and points it at Sanchez. "You want to do this?"
As the video continues, Ho runs and climbs inside Sanchez' pickup truck to try to move or damage it. Finally, back outside, Ho asks Sanchez, "Ready? Listo?" before hitting him with the bat.
After the encounter, Sanchez called police. They arrested Ho on charges of attack with a deadly weapon and attempted carjacking.
The auto parts business was closed on Sunday but Sanchez was back, barbecuing chicken and ribs on the side of the road near the on-ramp to 880. He said the officers told him he wasn't bothering anyone and could stay at that spot.
"I do worry that it will happen again," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I feel like I can overcome this situation and just be able to support my family here. That's all I want to do."
When it comes to support, he was getting plenty from the community, as customers and community activists showed up at the site. But Intex has been taking a beating, with negative comments on the company's Facebook page, alleging that the attack was racially motivated.
"You know, you can be mad at the world but these people didn't do anything to you except maybe you don't like to look at them," said resident Brendon Luu, who visited Sanchez' grill after seeing the video. "That sounds like more of a 'you' problem than everybody else."
"Our communities are always overlooked and underseen due to their immigration status but that's no excuse to harass them or threaten them," said Flor Martinez Zaragoza, founder of a nonprofit called Celebration Nation. "What you guys witnessed in that video, I mean, this man makes 50 dollars a day to support his two daughters and his wife and it's the last thing he needs to worry about."
Sanchez said he had been working in the same area for eight days before the attack occurred. He said he can't help feeling that racism played a part in it.
Ho released the following statement on Tuesday regarding the incident.
"I deeply regret my treatment of the gentleman who set-up a vending location outside of my family's auto parts store. I cannot explain or justify my actions, but I can say that, until Saturday, I have always treated others with the respect and consideration that my family instilled in me. I failed to do so here and am ashamed of my conduct. I will ensure that I never treat others in this way again.
I also want to convey that my father immigrated to this country to start a family business more than 44 years ago. The difficulties he endured as an immigrant, and his commitment to his family and to his business, have always inspired me. While I believe the vending location violated zoning laws and contributed to other public safety concerns, I regret using the word "illegal" in reference to these issues — I should not have used a term that could be misinterpreted or cause pain. My actions were not a reflection of the person I aspire to be, and I am truly sorry to everyone in the community that was affected by my behavior."
for more features.