Ontario police are searching for a man caught on camera assaulting a restaurant customer and shouting a racial slur at him, officials said.
Sgt. Bill Russell with the Ontario Police Department said the assault Wednesday at Waba Grill off Mountain Avenue is a misdemeanor, but investigators want to question the suspect. Until then, the attack is not being investigated as a hate crime.
“We can’t determine it was racially motivated until we talk to the suspect,” he said.
The victim told police he ordered food at the restaurant’s counter in Spanish and then headed for the restroom. Surveillance footage shows a man seated at a nearby table stand up suddenly and push the victim to the ground as he tried to walk past.
In the video, the victim gets up, but the suspect, who was still standing over the man, slugs him in the chest. The victim can be seen trying to block the punch with his arm.
“I thought it was an accident,” the man told KTLA-TV. But then the attacker yelled a racist remark, the customer said. The man said he thinks the assault was a hate crime.