A man who allegedly lobbed rocks at a car driven by an Asian woman and then told police Koreans were trying to control him has been charged with committing a hate crime and vandalism, officials said Monday.
Roger Janke, 28, of Fullerton, pleaded not guilty Friday, April 2, to felony counts of violating a person’s civil rights and vandalism, as well as a misdemeanor charge of throwing a substance at a vehicle, which includes a felony hate crime enhancement, according to court records. He was held at the Orange County Sheriff’s Theo Lacy Facility as of Monday in lieu of $51,500 bail.
The public defender assigned to represent Janke could not immediately be reached for comment.
Police arrested him March 31 on suspicion of tossing rocks that cracked the windshield of a Tesla near Hughes Drive and Bastanchury Road, Fullerton police Cpl. Billy Phu said. The vehicle was occupied by a 38-year-old Asian woman and her 6-year-old son, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said.
Janke made disparaging comments against Koreans after he was taken into custody, which led prosecutors to believe he targeted the victim because of their appearance, OCDA officials said.
“A woman and her child should be able to drive down the street without worrying about being attacked because of the color of their skin,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
Janke is a member of the homeless community who has had previous interactions with law enforcement, Phu said. He already had pleaded not guilty to multiple misdemeanor counts of vandalism and drug-related crimes in four open cases, before hate crime allegations were filed against him in April. It’s unclear whether he did or did not express any animosity toward Korean or Asian people in those previous incidents.
Janke is schedule to appear in court Friday, April 16. He faces a maximum of six years in prison and six months in Orange County Jail if convicted as charged.
Source: Orange County Register