LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A viral video is sparking outrage, showing the aftermath of what police are calling a hate crime.
Metro arrested a woman who allegedly hit a 6-year-old Asian American boy on the Las Vegas Strip. Over the past year, we have seen anti-Asian violence across the country but not really in our city. The mother of the child who was hit was not ready to do an interview with 8 News Now, but she gave us permission to show the video she took.
Now, the local Asian community is demanding justice.
“This woman attacked my son,” is how the audio on the TikTok video begins.
An alleged racist rampage — caught on camera.
The California mother posted the video to the social media platform, saying a woman seen in the video hit her young son and yelled anti-Asian statements. At one point, you can hear the woman say something about “China.”
The incident unfolded on July 5 at the Shops at Crystals on the Strip. Metro arrested 57-year-old Shelly Ann Hill a few days later, and she was booked on hate crime and battery charges.
According to an arrest report obtained by 8 News Now, surveillance video showed Hill backhanding the boy on the neck on a pedestrian bridge near the Shops. She then shouted at the family, saying the coronavirus was their fault.
“It’s very, very sad. It’s shocking,” said Las Vegan Jennie Kim.
She says that although she does not know the family involved, she feels their pain as an Asian American living in the age of COVID-19.
“For the first time in my life in America… I actually have some hidden fears that weren’t there before,” Kim shared.
Statistics show hate crimes against Asians in Nevada are low, but local leaders say this case is different.
“Up to this point, we haven’t really had anything reported that’s been violent,” said Sonny Vinuya, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce.
He and other leaders have worked on education campaigns. Now, their focus is on justice.
“I think it’s about time that we really hold people accountable for their actions,” Vinuya told 8 News Now. “I think that’s what will change.”
Kim hopes that happens.
“It can’t be brushed aside. It really can’t,” she stressed.
Some people online said Hill appeared to be having a mental episode during the incident. Local leaders say that is still no excuse for anti-Asian hate.
Hill is scheduled to be back in court on July 27.