Recorded attack on Black runner is charged as a hate crime

September 23, 2020 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — A woman who was captured on video hurling a bottle and a racial slur at a Black runner in New York City has been charged with attempted assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment, authorities said Tuesday.

Lorena Delaguna, 53, was arraigned in Queens criminal court on charges stemming from the Aug. 17 confrontation with Tiffany Johnson.

“Crimes like this, which are fueled by hate, are in a special category for a reason,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a written statement. “No one should have to endure being called a vile slur or being attacked simply because of the color of their skin, their religion, or who they love.”


Judge Jeffrey Gershuny said there was a “mental health component” to the case and ordered a psychological evaluation for Delaguna.

Delaguna’s attorney, Samantha Diaz, questioned the severity of the charges, noting that Johnson hadn’t suffered physical harm.

Katz did not name the victim, but Johnson, 37, has identified herself as the person being accosted in a video that was recorded by a bystander and released by the police department last week.

“It’s a hate crime,” Johnson told the New York Post. “It’s not acceptable.”

Katz said that in addition to using the racial slur, Delaguna, of Woodside, Queens, followed the runner for a block and told her to “go back to Africa.”