San Clemente Man Convicted of Hate Crime for Punching African American Man

Case # 19HF0780

San Clemente Man Convicted of Hate Crime for Punching African American Man

Santa Ana, Calif. – A jury found a San Clemente man guilty today of a felony hate crime for sucker punching an African American man who was working at a Laguna Beach grocery store. The attack left him with a broken nose and severe damage to his two front teeth.

Fernando Ramirez, 23, of San Clemente, was convicted of one felony count of battery with serious bodily injury, one misdemeanor violation of civil rights by force, and a felony hate crime enhancement.

The 26-year-old victim was working at the Whole Foods Market in Laguna Beach on June 15, 2019 when Ramirez ran up behind him and punched him in the face. The victim did not know his attacker.

After his arrest, Ramirez went on a rant filled with racial epithets that targeted African Americans.

“Hate does not belong in Orange County,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “If you commit a crime motivated by hate, I can promise you the Orange County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Ramirez has a prior felony state prison sentence for a 2014 gang related felony assault. He was sentenced to two years in state prison.

Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced in Department C39 on December 13, 2019. He faces a maximum of eight years in state prison.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos prosecuted this case.