On Monday, November 4, Adrian Richard Vergara, 26, pleaded guilty to assault and hate crime charges after attacking a Syrian refugee on a trolly for speaking Arabic.
Earlier this month, Vergara approached an unnamed Syrian teen who was on a San Diego trolley returning home from high school. The teen was speaking with a friend on the phone when Vergara pulled out the high schooler’s headphones and asked:
“What trash are you speaking?”
When the teen replied “Arabic,” Vergara attacked him, punching him in the face and yelling:
Police arrested Vergara on October 22 for a drug-related crime that had nothing to do with the incident.
He was then recognized from the trolley’s security footage.
Vergara has an extensive criminal record, including past threats and assaults, but the Syrian teen wasn’t as bothered by Vergara’s behavior as he was by that of his fellow passengers.
“It wasn’t just what happened that made me mad and made me sad. It was the silence of the others. … Why they didn’t help me? Why they did nothing while I was being beaten?”
And he's a domestic abuser as well, because of course he is. https://t.co/AJXn58yvm6— Sam Bergman (@violanorth) November 5, 2019
BREAKING: Man accused of attacking a 16-year-old Syrian refugee on the trolley is denying all allegations. Adrian Vergara, 26, has lengthy criminal history and was ordered this year to stay away from main MTS trolley station after he was arrested for battery against another man. pic.twitter.com/bvGiSzXs4t— Merrilee Moore (@mmooreofficial) October 24, 2019
The high schooler’s family moved to the U.S. in 2016 after fleeing the battles in Syria. Shortly after moving here, his older brother was the victim of a hate crime, but the family decided to keep it to themselves.
“We came to this country under the belief that we would have civil rights and liberties and safety. When the attack happened to my brother we realized that this wasn’t true for everyone.”
Shameful.— Dave In Vancouver (@DaveInVancouve1) November 5, 2019
This time, however, the family couldn’t hold their tongue any longer.
“I am still dealing with the trauma from this and I don’t want the attention. However, I urge others who are victims of such attacks to speak up….”
“It is important to seek justice when you experience a hate crime to ensure that such incidents don’t continue to happen in our community. To all the people who are attacking our community: Don’t judge us without knowing us.”
LOCK HIM UP FOR LIFE!!!— boomshaka (@milsnap) November 5, 2019
People ... how can it really be possible to be this stupid?— MOTR Politics (@MOTRPolitics1) November 5, 2019
Hate crimes have been steadily rising for since 2016. It’s become obvious there is something wrong in parts of our culture that must be addressed so we can move forward as a country that supposedly values diversity, freedom and equality.