SAN DIEGO — A man was convicted for a hate crime involving employees and customers at Hillcrest’s Crest Café, San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott’s office said Friday.
The incident took place on July 24, 2021 when Cameron James, 43, approached the restaurant on Robinson Avenue and directed slurs towards an employee. During the incident, according to Elliot’s office, the defendant threw a tray of food at the victim, knocked over tables and chairs, struck the victim with a chair, drew a swastika on the window of the café and told the victim, “You’re gonna die tonight.”
Court records show James pleaded guilty on Jan. 6 to misdemeanor battery with a hate crime allegation and interfering with a business. The judge denied him probation and sentenced James to 273 days in jail.
“An assault on our LGBTQ+ community is an assault on all of us. This conviction sends a strong message that hateful speech and violent behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Elliott said in statement. “Everyone deserves to be safe in their own community and free from abuse.”
Not sure what a hate crime is? Elliot’s office defined it as a crime against a person, group, or property motivated by bias against the victim based on the victim’s actual or perceived membership in a protected social group.
Elliot’s office advised the public to report hate crimes to the San Diego Police Department by contacting the SDPD’s 24-hour number for non-emergency calls and general information at 619-531-2000 or file a crime report online.
The city attorney’s office said it has prosecuted more than 23 hate crime cases in the past three years.