SANTA ANA — With an Irvine police sergeant as witness, an Iranian-American man whipped a chain at an idling car containing two Latino men, Friday, May 28 about midnight, resulting in the assailant’s arrest for suspected hate crimes.
Arash Riazati, 31, of Irvine, faces felony charges that include aggravated assault and hate crime motivated aggravated assault with present ability to commit violent injury. Misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance without prescription and violation of civil rights by causing property damage have also been leveled at the suspect, along with sentencing enhancements and allegations that the aggravated assault was a hate crime.
According to an Orange County District Attorney report, Riazati sat fuming in the passenger side of his girlfriend’s car at the intersection of Jamboree Road and Barranca Parkway, upset from an earlier altercation with some other Latinos at a movie theater.
While waiting at the signal, police believe Riazati became enraged upon seeing the two innocent Latino victims — an uncle and his nephew — who were idling in their car three lanes away.
Riazati then reportedly emerged from his girlfriend’s car with the chain, approached the driver’s side of the victim’s car and whacked the rear driver’s side door with the weapon.
While both of the Latino occupants were “extremely frightened,” neither suffered any injuries as the uncle was able to accelerate away from the scene.
Riazati faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison if convicted and is reportedly being held on $50,000 bail.
Along with the Irvine police sergeant who witnessed the incident, the Irvine Police Department also investigated the case.