March 25, 2023

On Wednesday night, authorities said a woman was arrested after she was videotaped physically and verbally assaulting a group of women of South Asian descent in a parking lot in Plano, Texas. The incident is under investigation and may be a hate crime.

Esmeralda Upton was arrested Thursday, charged The Plano Police Department reported a misdemeanor assault and a terrorist threat. Plano police spokeswoman Andrea Smith confirmed to CBS News that she was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

This videowhich garnered thousands of views on social media, showed a woman identified by police as Upton shouting swear words, making racist rants, beating someone and threatening to shoot a victim.

“Go back to India,” Upton can be heard yelling in the footage.

No hate crime charges have been filed.However, Plano police Say In a statement Friday, the incident was a “hate crime under Texas law” and could also lead to federal charges.

“We are working closely with the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division on this case,” the department wrote.

Plano police added that officers did not arrest Upton at the scene because “the criminal offense did not take place in the presence of the responding patrol officer.”

Rani Banerjee told CBS News on Thursday that she was one of four women involved in the racist attack, and she also posted a video of the incident to Facebook. Banerjee told WFAA-TV in Dallas that she and her friends had just finished eating at Sixty Vine when Upton approached them in the parking lot.

“Suddenly we heard this woman yelling at us and she started walking towards us,” Banerjee told WFAA. “We are appalled by the racial slur she used.”

Faizan Syed, executive director of the Texas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, condemned the racist attack.

“The verbal abuse and alleged physical assault of four Indian-American women in Plano is truly appalling,” Syed said in an interview with the WFAA. “This kind of hatred has no place in North Texas. , we call on law enforcement to investigate this incident as a hate crime.”

Anti-Asian hate crimes on the rise in the U.S. Report According to Stop AAPI Hate, there were nearly 11,500 reports of hate crimes against Asians between March 2020 and March 2022. Two-thirds of all incidents involved verbal harassment, written hate speech or inappropriate gestures.

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