A Glendale resident has been charged with committing a hate crime for allegedly yelling racial slurs and threats at a black man from Inglewood and pounding on his car after a traffic accident.
Krist Mardirossian, 31, was charged last week with one misdemeanor count of interfering with the civil rights of Kenneth Patterson, 35. If convicted, Mardirossian could face a $5,000 fine and up to six months in County Jail.
Patterson was buying food from a sidewalk vendor in the 4000 block of San Fernando Road on March 9 when he saw another car back into his parked car, said Deputy Dist. Atty. David Dahle. As Patterson and the driver began to argue, Mardirossian and three friends allegedly approached Patterson, shouting racial epithets and threats and telling him to "get out of Glendale," Dahle said.
When Patterson got in his car and tried to flee, Mardirossian pounded his fists on Patterson's windshield and continued to yell, witnesses told police.
Mardirossian's three companions were not charged because they had no physical contact with Patterson, Dahle said.
Racial slurs alone are not considered hate crimes, said Glendale Police Agent Christopher Loop. Such crimes must be motivated by bigotry against specific groups and must involve racial epithets accompanied by physical assaults or threats, Loop said.
The incident was the third hate crime recorded this year by Glendale police. In early February, two youths of Armenian descent, both 17, allegedly painted swastikas and the words Hitler and KKK on the Glendale Presbyterian Calgary Church, a Korean church, Loop said.
He said the same youths were arrested in March after they and a friend shouted racial epithets and threw an empty beer can at a black woman in a car.
The two youths were charged with interfering with the civil rights of the black woman and the Korean church and are awaiting prosecution in Pasadena Juvenile Court. Their friend was not charged in the incident, Loop said.
Eight hate crimes occurred in Glendale in 1989, six of which were aimed at emigrants from Soviet Armenia--the fastest-growing minority in the city. The other two involved black victims, Loop said.