Hate Crime Charges Dropped in Attack on Filipino Family in Hollywood

A California judge has dropped hate crime charges against Nicholas Weber, a man accused of attacking a Filipino American family in North Hollywood last year. Instead, Weber will face trial for two counts of felony battery, to which he pleaded not guilty in July.

The incident took place at a McDonald’s drive-thru on Victory Boulevard on May 13 and was captured on video. Weber allegedly rear-ended the vehicle of Nerissa Roque and her daughter, Patricia Roque, which led to a heated confrontation. During the altercation, Weber reportedly used racial slurs, mocked the family with an Asian accent, and threatened to kill them.

The situation escalated when Weber allegedly attempted to physically assault Patricia but was stopped by her father, Gabriel Roque, who had arrived at the scene. Weber is accused of punching 60-year-old Gabriel to the ground, causing a broken rib, and choking Nerissa when she tried to intervene.

Weber was arrested on June 16, 2022, but refused to attend his arraignment three times. On July 11, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of battery, including one felony and one misdemeanor, with hate crime enhancements. As of April 18, he is facing only two counts of felony battery without the hate crime charges.

Judge Neetu S. Badhan-Smith determined that while Weber had made “offensive and vulgar statements” against the family, the incident remained a “general intent crime,” according to the San Fernando Valley Sun. The judge cited the 10- to 15-minute gap between the alleged racial slurs and physical assault and noted that Weber stopped using such language upon returning to the scene.

The video also showed Weber pushing a bystander before engaging with the family, which contributed to the judge’s decision to drop the hate crime enhancements.

The family and their supporters expressed their disappointment outside the courtroom. “It’s really disappointing how we’ve been treated so far and how the justice system is treating this case when it’s really obvious this is a hate crime,” said family member Patrick Roque, as per ABS-CBN News.

Filipino American group Anakbayan USA echoed the sentiment, stating that what they witnessed “up there was not justice.” Weber is due back in court on May 1, and without the hate crime enhancements, he faces a reduced sentence if convicted.

Written by Robert D