Thien Ly CCTV captures the moment last Wednesday night when he was about to take his 3-year-old 20-month-old to the park after work when suddenly driving by a man asks “What is this science?” He points to the flag near Ly’s garage.
Wrongly thinking the guy was asking about his bike, not the dinosaur flag he bought me for his 3 year old son, he answered by saying the bike brand.
The guy seems unhappy with Lee’s answer, which is when things start to get awkward.
The man’s voice can be heard saying at the watch, “Is this a Filipino thing?”
Lee thinks the guy may have mistaken the bike brand Taga for Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines. By the way, “Lee” is Vietnamese.
The man’s questions become more bizarre and aggressive.
“What is your favorite charitable friend? What is your favorite charitable organization?”
The man can then be heard saying, “I’m sure your marriage is going well…You cranky, creep. Crawling pedophile.”
The man even curses in front of my children and asks “Can’t you answer my simple and king question?”
Lee kept quiet through all of this despite the man threatening to come home later to talk to his wife. What happened was much worse.
San Jose police say the man returned several hours later to commit acts of vandalism.
“He came back and smashed both of my cars with the weights,” says Lee, carrying the two-and-a-half pound ring weight he found among his children’s car seats in the back row of one of the vans.
While San Jose police say the incident did not appear to be out of hate, he couldn’t help but believe he was targeted because of his race.
He told me, “At first I thought I was a Filipino because I could stand a Filipina, but I’m actually a Vietnamese.”
This is why he speaks out: to protect his normally quiet neighborhood.
He told me, “Whoever this is, I hope they get caught so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. I want to shine a light on this and make sure it’s safe for everyone and safe for my kids growing up in this neighborhood.”
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