Eleven weeks after Atul Lall, a 32-year old San Jose man of East Indian decent, was attacked by men who called him a terrorist, he essentially said he is a victim of the system too.
“Investigations like this one depend on a timely response, and that’s what was missing and because of that my attackers may go free to commit other crimes,” Lall said. “I didn’t even get to look at a photo lineup until last week and that’s 9 weeks and after 9 weeks what am I going to remember? Even if I see the photograph it’s hard to pull it out of your brain.”
But investigations take time, more time than many victims are willing to wait. In Lall’s case, police returned to the scene of the crime to search for evidence. Lall was attacked in the parking lot of the Lucky Supermarket on South White Road at Aborn Avenue on November 21, 2011, the Monday before Thanksgiving.
In the time since the hate crime, police have examined surveillance video and sent the tequila bottle Lall says was used in the attack to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab to search for potential DNA evidence.
The hate crime against Lall is just one of 32 hate crimes investigated in San Jose in 2011.
“It’s critical for people to know they need to report these crimes,” said San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore. “We know that in the last several months we’ve had several incidents, one involving an arrest and one not, and one where we had someone painting a swastika, a form of vandalism we can’t allow in this community.”
Lall says that he only got serious police attention after he reached out to Rose Herrera, the city councilwoman for district six, where the crime happened. Herrera offered up a $1,000 reward for information in the case.
Lall says that the police department held this press conference regarding his case makes him feel better, but he’s still figuring out whether to pursue action against the department to make sure victims don’t feel like their cases are going nowhere.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through,” Lall said.