Texas woman arrested on assault charges after attacking Indian American women
Police in Texas have arrested a woman on charges of assault bodily injury and making terroristic threats after a video appeared to show her verbally and physically attacking a group of Indian American women.
The Plano Police Department, located in northern Texas near Dallas, said in a Facebook post that officers responded to a disturbance in a parking lot of a business at around 8:15 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
A release from the department states that several women told officers upon arrival that another woman assaulted them in the parking lot. An officer completed a report for the two charges against the woman based on witness statements.
Police detectives arrested Esmeralda Upton, a resident of Plano, on Thursday afternoon on the charges, and her bail was set at $10,000.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and they may bring additional charges against Upton, the release states.
One of the women present recorded a video of the incident. The video shows a woman yelling at them to “go back to India,” adding, “we don’t want you here.”
The video shows the woman hitting the person recording, and later on, one woman at the scene calls the police. The woman walks away on a few occasions but then returns and attempts to strike the other women at times.
The woman said that she is Mexican American and was born in this country and has “paid her way here.” She repeatedly uses expletives while yelling at the women, according to the footage.
The police department said in a post on Friday that it had received questions about why Upton was not arrested at the scene. The department said an arrest was not made immediately because the criminal offenses did not occur in officers’ presence, and they needed an arrest warrant to take her into custody.
“The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) outlines the arrest authority of Texas peace officers. The offenses committed by Ms. Upton were misdemeanor crimes,” the post states. “Based on the CCP, Texas peace officers, generally, can arrest for misdemeanors when the offenses occur in their presence.”
The department said it is working with the FBI and Justice Department’s civil rights division, and the incident may also be a hate crime under federal law.