|For Immediate Release
Case # 07HF0771August 13, 2007
PERSIAN MAN CONVICTED OF HATE CRIME FOR ATTACKING ARAB MAN AT STARBUCKS
NEWPORT BEACH – A Persian man was sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted today of attacking an Arab man in Starbucks on charges of committing a hate crime. Anthony Tabarsi, 41, pleaded guilty to the court to one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement and one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer.
On April 16, 2007, Tabarsi walked into the Starbucks at 2701 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. The victim and two of his friends were sitting at a table speaking Arabic. As Tabarsi walked past, he began mocking the men by making fun of their language, using expletives to tell them he hates Arabs, and that he thought that all Arabs are terrorists. After using the restroom, the defendant approached the victim and his friends again, called them names, and challenged them to a fight. The victim, 25, followed the defendant outside, and Tabarsi pulled a folding knife from his pocket, opened the blade, and swung it at the victim. The victim’s friend stepped in to protect him from the assault, and the defendant fled through the parking lot.
Witnesses called the Costa Mesa Police Department, and officers at a nearby location on an unrelated call immediately responded. The officers instructed Tabarsi to stop and remove his hands from his pocket, but Tabarsi refused to comply with the police.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Steiner of the Felony Projects Unit prosecuted this case.