A 34-year-old knife-wielding man was charged Friday, Jan. 8 with a racist attack at the Huntington Beach Pier.
Casey John Roberts is facing one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of violation of civil rights — violent injury and a count of criminal threats — along with hate crime sentencing enhancements, according to Orange County court records.
Roberts pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the hate crime allegations, court records said.
He is accused of inserting himself into an already brewing race-related dispute between the victim and another group of people just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Huntington Beach police Lt. Brian Smith said.
Roberts, who is white, was not involved in the initial dispute, but ran up to the victim and used an ethnic slur while wielding a knife, Smith alleged. The victim is Latino, but Roberts used a slur against another ethnicity, Smith said
After Roberts attempted to run away, police took him into custody quickly without incident, Smith said.
Investigators are seeking more information about the initial dispute, Smith said, and asked witnesses or anyone else with relevant information to call 714-536-5951.
Roberts was being held on $250,000 bail.
Source: Orange County Register