Air Force Veteran Attack in Koreatown Investigated as Hate Crime

February 24, 2021

KOREATOWN, Los Angeles—Knocked to the ground and berated with racial slurs and threats, a U.S. Air Force veteran spoke to NBC 4 about his attack in Koreatown, which police are now investigating as a hate crime.

Denny Kim said he’s still shaken up about what happened on the sidewalk on Kenmore Avenue a week ago.

“I was terrified for my life, as you can see the physical injuries on my face,” Kim said. “And I didn’t know what to think of it. It was all just a blur…I was just trying to defend my life.”

The 27-year-old still wore a black eye and was breathing through a fractured nose a week after, he says, two men threatened to kill him and called him racial slurs, before knocking him to the ground in an unprovoked attack, according to NBC 4.

“Started calling me ‘ching chong’ … ‘Chinese virus’ … All sorts of nasty stuff. They eventually struck me on my face. I fell down to the ground,” Kim explained.

Kim says he has his friend to thank for chasing off the attackers and saving his life.

Joseph Cha, Kim’s friend and a community activist, said, “I was screaming, telling them to stop. Screaming, they were calling me racial slurs too.”

The description of the men, unfortunately, is too vague to be of much use. LAPD detectives are searching for security video in the area and are investigating the attack as a hate crime with criminal threats.

Kim, who grew up in LA and served the country, says he has experienced racism before.

The Air Force veteran stated, “Throughout my career, I experienced a lot of micro-aggressions because of my race. I never felt like I fit in. I never felt like I belonged.”

This follows another incident that happened on Friday on the other side of the country in Flushing, Queens.

A Chinese man in his 40s was attacked. Zheng lost several teeth and suffered a brain hemorrhage. He spent a couple of days in the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Queens Hospital.

Due to the hemorrhage, Zheng remains under observation and cannot go home yet. He is suffering from headaches.

“I vaguely remember running into a person on the street the night of the incident,” Zheng told World Journal, “Then I fainted. When I woke up, I was already lying on a hospital bed. Later I heard that I had been taken by an ambulance.”

Feature Screenshot via NBC 4

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