(KTSF by Sean Au)
Campbell’s gay and Chinese American Vice Mayor Evan Low claims he was verbally assaulted in public as he was attending a public event last Saturday afternoon.
Low claims the incident happened as he was walking toward a community event held at Pruneyard Plaza. A middle-aged white woman allegedly approached Low, pointed at him with her hand in the shape of a gun, and used derogatory ethnic and homophobic slurs against Low. The Vice Mayor says he confronted her to no avail.
“Her response was just continuing to scream on top of her lungs, constant screaming, such that you can see her veins popping out,” says Low. “She was spitting and she was just repeating the same kind of hatred, derogatory terms toward me, my ethnicity and saying ‘Go back to China.’
Low felt threatened and called the police. The Campbell Police Department is investigating the incident and have spoken to the woman in question, but have not arrested her.
Campbell Police Department Captain Dave Carmichael says that even though the First Amendment protects free speech, certain kinds of speech may still constitute a crime. “In this case, you have somebody in public making offensive statements and it is a crime in section 415 that prohibits somebody from being in public engaging in offensive statements that would be likely to provoke immediate violent response.” says Carmichael.
A spokesperson from Santa Clara’s District Attorney’s Office says they will decide if they will file charges after an investigation has been completed.
Low says “Whether it be Black, Chinese, gay, women. In fact, this incident happened to the Vice Mayor in his own city and so that could happen to anybody.”
Low adds that it is important for members of minority communities to speak up and be visible in the community so that their contributions to society are recognized and they can change the hearts and minds of people in society.
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