A California man caught on camera driving through protesters at a “Stop Asian Hate” rally has been arrested on bias charges, federal officials say.
Steve Lee Dominguez, 56, was busted Thursday after being charged in a federal grand-jury indictment for allegedly running a red light at the March 2021 rally in Diamond Bar, where he is accused of yelling, “Go back to China!” and other hate speech at demonstrators.
Footage from the rally posted to Instagram showed a black four-door Honda sedan cutting off a group of protesters while making a U-turn at a red light and yelling “F–k China!”
The incident occurred just days after a gunman killed eight people – including six Asian women – at Atlanta-area massage parlors.
Dominguez of Diamond Bar has been charged with two counts of bias-motivated interference with federal protected activities, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
The peaceful protesters had the right of way as they crossed a street using a crosswalk when Dominguez drove through the intersection while making an illegal U-turn and antagonized the demonstrators by yelling racial slurs, federal prosecutors said.
Dominguez narrowly avoided hitting several of the demonstrators, including an Asian woman carrying a “Stop Asian Hate” sign and a 9-year-old girl, officials said. No injuries were reported at the rally, authorities said.
Moments after driving through the crowd, federal prosecutors said, Dominguez called 911 while identifying himself as “John Doe” to falsely report that the demonstrators were blocking the street.
Dominguez claimed he had no choice but to run the red light “because they were about to trample my car,” the indictment states.
More than 500 protesters, including Diamond Bar Mayor Pro Tem Andrew Chou, had gathered at an intersection during the rally, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dominguez pleaded not guilty during his arraignment Thursday in Los Angeles. A judge set his bond at $30,000, and his trial is set to begin in early July, a Department of Justice spokesman told The Post. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
A public defender assigned to Dominguez’s case did not respond to a request for comment, the Los Angeles Times reported.