Man spits on Asian store owner in DC, police say; officials encourage hate incident reporting

At the same time as another suspected anti-Asian hate crime in the region, officials in Montgomery County are educating communities about what rises to the level of a hate crime and encouraging more reporting of these racist attacks and others like them.

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The Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office, headed by John McCarthy, has held listening sessions and talks with community groups. It has also printed pamphlets in 9 languages after discovering that many don't know the difference between a hate incident and a hate crime or how to report the incidents to authorities.

Racist speech would be protected, while if it is accompanied by an imminent threat, vandalism or assault, that would likely be criminal.

READ MORE: Arrest made in assault of Asian store owner in DC; police investigating as possible hate crime

"I think that we need to report this information immediately and to the police. 911 or if it's not an emergency to the 311 non-emergency line so we can gather the statistics," McCarthy said.

Numbers were not yet available for 2020, but McCarthy said there were 108 hate incidents reported in the county in 2019, the highest in nearly a decade.

VIDEO: Suspect reportedly said ‘I hate the Chinese’ before assaulting DC shop owner

He says fortunately, his count has not seen an alarming rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, despite many visible incidents across the region and nationally.

On July 30, D.C. police say a man spat on the owner of an Adams Morgan vintage shop, Meeps DC. The owner told FOX 5 he hurled racist language and refused to wear a mask.

No arrests have been made.