A 61-year-old man is facing felony hate crimes, assault and vandalism charges after a racially charged incident at a T-Mobile store in Cupertino this week, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney.
Clifford Stewart was arrested after he assaulted a female employee of the store while yelling racial epithets and profanities at her and a co-worker, the DA said. He has been charged with assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, hate crimes and vandalism.
Stewart also faces a charge connected to threatening the arresting deputy, the DA said. He was scheduled to be arraigned Friday at the Palo Alto courthouse.
The incident started Wednesday morning when Stewart removed a T-Mobile sign from in front of the store on Stevens Creek Boulevard and threw it in the street, the DA said. When a female worker and a male worker went to retrieve the sign, Stewart began yelling racial slurs at them.
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The female worker is Latina, and the male is Asian American, the DA said.
The female worker told Stewart she was calling the police, after which Stewart kicked her in the stomach and punched her in the face, injuring her, the DA said. She was taken to Stanford Hospital, but her condition was unknown.
After the male worker intervened, Stewart fled to a nearby sports center, where he was later arrested by sheriff's deputies. As he was being detained, Stewart verbally abused and threatened to kill the deputy, the DA said.
"Hate crimes send an ugly and ignorant message to our community that certain people are not welcome here," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. "My response is that I will do everything in my power to hold criminal racists accountable in court. Hate is not welcome here."