Authorities alleged a man from Costa Mesa attacked a transgender woman using a skateboard and have charged him with a hate crime, said the Orange County District Attorney’s Office on Friday.
The suspect, 23-year-old Johnny Santos Moreno, is charged with felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, threatening a witness, and a hate crime enhancement.
Prosecutors accused Moreno of blurting out racial slurs towards the victim before using his skateboard to repeatedly assault the woman. A passing motorist who witnessed the incident was threatened by the suspect when he tried to contact the police.
“No one should have to live in the shadow of fear that they will be targeted and physically attacked because of the way they dress, speak, behave, or who they love. Our differences, whether the color of our skin, our sexuality, or our religion, should be causes for the celebration of our diversity, not targets on our backs for hates to mock, deride, harass, and harm us,” a statement by Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said.
“Those who engage in hate-motivated crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law here in Orange County,” Spitzer said, Mercury News reported.
On Friday, Moreno appeared in court for an arraignment, but authorities did not reveal whether he entered a plea or not. The county jail is currently holding the suspect on a $25,000 bail, Orange County Sheriff Department records showed.