/  03.22.2021


A man was arrested on Friday (March 19) after pepper spraying an Asian gas station owner in a racist attack, police say. The confrontation occurred in Oakland, California on Thursday (March 18) morning and was captured on video.

According to gas station owner Cwell, who did not reveal his last name to reporters, the incident began when the man tried to pay for his gas in all coins. The man and the cashier got into an argument, which is when Cwell stepped in.

“He just started mouthing off… ‘You should go back to China,’ like that,” Cwell told San Francisco ABC station KGO. “We were just bursting out laughing because it was so unbelievable.”

Cwell said he then followed the man outside so he could record his license plate number. There, KGO reports the man continued his racist tirade, yelling things like, “Go to China” and, “You’re not from here, you’re Asian.” Cwell told the outlet the man sprayed him in the face with pepper spray, which was captured on surveillance footage.

“The guy had pulled out his pepper spray and he had shot my face [and] arms,” he recalled. “I ended up going to the ER to get taken care of.”

The man was arrested by the Oakland Police Department on Friday and was charged with assault. The case has also been presented to the Alameda County District Attorney for review, police said.

“OPD denounces all incidents involving hate,” the police department said in a statement. The investigation is ongoing.

“I totally appreciate that you let me share my story because this has got to stop,” Cwell told KGO. “I hope this brings awareness that everybody goes through the same stuff. We just have to understand that and understand that we all have to work together.”

According to Stop AAPI Hate, a California-based reporting center for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; nearly 3,800 attacks have been reported over the past year. See video of the incident below.

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