Tuesday, February 02, 2010


The story of hate based attacks on Pakistani men working as clerks at a truck stop in California (below) unfortunately is not a rarity these days in the US of A. Although it is nice to see that the local DA filed hate crime charges, we can't depend on law enforcement and the criminal justice system to deal with these ...racist attacks. Dealing with racism of all kinds is up to us, all of us.


The following is from Ukiah Daily Journal.

DA charges second hate crime in Ukiah truck stop altercations
By TIFFANY REVELLE The Daily Journal

Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott has charged a second man with committing a hate crime after reviewing his interaction in mid-January with clerks at Jensen's Truck Stop in Ukiah.

Meanwhile, the owner of Jensen's Truck Stop restaurant says he's rethinking improvements there after his employees were the victims of two hate crimes in a month.

Two clerks of Pakistani descent were the victims of the second hate crime in a month at Jensen's on Lovers Lane in Ukiah, when Redwood Valley resident Cody M. Cranford, 21, allegedly assaulted them Friday night.

It was obvious Cranford was intoxicated when he entered the truck stop, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. He became angry when he asked to use the phone inside and was told to use the pay phone outside instead, Smallcomb said.

Cranford physically attacked clerks Lateef Kamal and Waqar Malik, punching their heads and faces and making racial slurs. Smallcomb said he grabbed one of the men by his sweater and dragged him outside while continuing to hit him. Then Cranford fled and the clerks called 9-1-1.

They identified their alleged attacker after police found Cranford at a nearby bowling alley.

Cranford's bail was set at $150,000, and he is due to appear in court Wednesday.

The incident comes just more than two weeks after the Jan. 12 incident when Joseph Anthony Frank, 63, of Redwood Valley, made an apparently unprovoked attack on clerk Ahmed Kahn
inside the truck stop.

Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott said Frank walked in and "went into a diatribe of derogatory names towards the store clerk."

Frank's anger built until he threatened to kill Kahn, then began to remove his jacket. He lunged across the counter and hit Kahn on the lower left side of his head with a closed fist, according to Lintott.

Frank drove away, and the California Highway Patrol arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving with a blood-alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and making terrorist threats.

The MCSO investigated the third charge, and the District Attorney's Office ultimately charged Frank with a felony count of committing a hate crime.

Lintott said what her attorneys look for to decide whether to charge someone with a hate crime is "a biased motive that caused the offender to act."

State law defines a hate crime as a criminal act committed wholly or partially because of the victim's disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a person or group marked by one or more of those characteristics.

"Obviously that's not something we tolerate in Mendocino County," Lintott said.

Haji Alam, who owns Jensen's Truck stop and two other gas stations in Ukiah, said, "We get customers like that in and out sometimes, but we usually try to ignore them."

Alam, a U.S. citizen and Ukiah resident of Pakistani descent, took over the operation of the truck stop last April when he bought the lease from previous tenants. Now he's thinking of improving the building, but the apparently racially-motivated incidents have made him think twice.

"Now I wonder, should I do it, should I not do it," Alam said.

He added, "The majority of the customers are nice people, and I like living here."

Tiffany Revelle can be reached at udjtr@pacific.net, or at 468-3523.

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