Texas woman charged with hate crime after racist rant

Viral video shows woman making racist comments and appearing to hit a person of Indian origin

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A Texas woman seen yelling obscenities at four Indian women in a viral video last week has been charged with a hate crime.

“This incident is a hate crime in accordance with Texas laws,” said police in Plano, Texas, where the incident occurred.

“This incident may also be a hate crime based on federal law, and we are working closely with the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on this case.”

The woman, identified as Esmeralda Upton, can be seen in the video making racist comments to four women of Indian origin in a car park.

“Go back to India, we don't want you here … I hate you [expletive] Indians,” she says in the video.

When asked by the women why she thinks they are not American, Ms Upton replied: “Because of the way you speak.”

The video also appears to show Ms Upton hitting the women.

Police arrested Ms Upton last week on one charge of assault and an additional charge of making a terrorist threat.

Rani Banerjee, one of the women, said she and three of her friends were confronted in the car park after they had finished having dinner at a restaurant.

“Suddenly, we heard this woman yelling at us and started coming towards us. We were shocked by the racial slurs that she used and combative attitude,” Ms Banerjee told an ABC News affiliate. Ms Banerjee started recording the incident with her phone.

“What was so very scary is she came very close and not only verbally assaulted us but started physically assaulting us. She started hitting me.”

Ayush Saha, a son of one of the victims, said Ms Upton threatened to pull a gun out of her purse.

“From what I know, it's a lady who has a lot of malice inside of her and she needed to ruin someone else's day,” he told a local NBC outlet.

Ms Upton is being held in lieu of $10,000 bail.

A representative for Ms Upton could not immediately be reached by Reuters for comment.

Reuters contributed to this report

Updated: August 29, 2022, 8:27 PM