Man pleads not guilty in alleged hate crime incident

A homeless man pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony charges for yelling racial slurs and spitting on a woman in Huntington Beach, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Jonathan Michael Schmidt, 31, was charged with two felony counts of hate crime battery and hate crime assault. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison if convicted.

Schmidt, who stays in the Huntington Beach area and served jail time for a false imprisonment conviction in 2003, is in custody. His bail was set at $30,000, said Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl.

About 1:40 p.m. Oct. 4, Schmidt, while on his bike, approached a Latina woman — whose name is being withheld to protect her identity — near her car's driver-side window when it was stopped near Main Street, according to the D.A.

Unprovoked, Schmidt allegedly yelled at the woman and spat in her face, prosecutors said.

After the woman and her sister arrived at a chocolate shop, Schmidt approached them again. Prosecutors said he yelled more racial slurs and spat on the woman's back. Schmidt then left but returned a short time later, riding his bike directly at the woman and forcing her to jump out of the way, prosecutors said.

His pretrial took place Wednesday, with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 20, Christl said.

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