WASHINGTON - A man has been arrested and charged with hate crimes, accused of targeting multiple Asian women in King County within several days.
On Friday, prosecutors charged Christopher Hamner, 51, with three counts of malicious harassment toward three adult women of Asian descent in the King County area between March 16 and 19th.
According to court documents, on March 16th, Pamela Cole and her two children were driving on Martin Luther King Jr. Way when Hamner approached her vehicle, stopped at an intersection. He started walking toward her vehicle and yelled at her, using profanity and anti-Asian hate speech.
Cole told Q13 News she was heading home that day after coming from stop anti-Asian hate rally when the man approached her vehicle.
Cole later posted about the incident and a friend and her husband were able to identify him as a VA Hospital employee. Three days after her incident, authorities say Hamner verbally attacked two women in the same vehicle, driving on Beacon Ave. S.
Cole said the man got out of his car and walked toward her vehicle yelling expletives at her, pounding his fists, and at one point, charged at her vehicle and yelled for her to get out of her vehicle. She said she also saw him have a hand in his pocket which worried her. She said because of his stature, she was prepared for the man to possibly try to enter her vehicle.
"The only defense I had was locking my car door. There was nothing that I felt that I had that I could protect me and the kids," she said. "In that instance, you just felt so helpless and defenseless as a mom."
After the light turned, she drove off and pulled into a parking lot but could see Hamner still watching her. She called the police and was offered to have an officer come check on her. Cole said she didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for a cop to arrive to check on her, so she left.
After the incident, Cole, who is Malaysian, said being exposed to racism is not something new to her.
"As an Asian-American, I find this so frustrating. This is nothing new. It’s just gotten way worse. We all know better, and yet, as an Asian-American, I’m still fighting to be accepted in a country that I only know," said Cole.
Since the incident, she said she's focused on acceptance and education and has since reached out to her children's schools about educational opportunities surrounding Asian communities.
"I think it is now time that America really really look at our history and really put some respect in (the) Asian community," said Cole.
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