LOS ANGELES – A Diamond Bar man was arrested today on federal charges alleging that he disrupted a “Stop Asian Hate” rally in March 2021 by deliberately running a red light, blocking the path of demonstrators lawfully using a crosswalk and yelling racial epithets at them.
Steve Lee Dominguez, 56, is charged in a federal grand jury indictment with two counts of bias-motivated interference with federal protected activities.
Dominguez is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to the indictment that was unsealed today, on March 21, 2021, a “Stop Asian Hate” rally occurred in Diamond Bar. The rally was a protest against the increase in hate crimes and hate incidents against members of the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community both locally and nationally – including the murders of six Asian American women five days earlier in Atlanta.
A group of rally participants assembled at the intersection of Diamond Bar Boulevard and Grand Avenue, carrying American flags and large signs in support of their cause. The demonstrators had gathered peacefully and lawfully crossed the streets using the marked pedestrian crosswalk when they had the right of way.
During the rally, Dominguez was driving a black Honda four-door sedan and was stopped at a red light at the intersection. Dominguez allegedly yelled, “Go back to China!” and other racial slurs at the demonstrators. Dominguez then allegedly deliberately drove his car through the intersection’s crosswalk at the red light, made an illegal U-turn and cut off the route of several rally participants lawfully crossing the street.
One of the victims was an Asian woman carrying a sign that read, “Stop Asian Hate.” Another victim was a minor Black female rally participant who carried a sign that read, “End the Violence Against Asians.” Another person who was cut off in the crosswalk was a 9-year-old child, and Dominguez’s car narrowly missed coming into contact with her and other victims, according to the indictment. No injuries were reported.
Dominguez allegedly then pulled his car over some distance away from the intersection, got out of the car and continued to yell racial epithets and threats at the demonstrators. He then called the police, identified himself as “John Doe” and falsely reported to police that the rally participants were blocking the street and he had to run a red light “because they were about to trample my car,” the indictment alleges. He also allegedly requested that police “get some control out” at the intersection.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of the two charges in the indictment, Dominguez would face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The FBI investigated this matter. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department initially responded to the scene and assisted in this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney Veronica Dragalin of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section is prosecuting this case.
Any member of the public who has information related to this incident or other hate crimes is encouraged to call the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565 or report tips online at https://tips.fbi.gov.