|For Immediate Release
April 17, 2007
THIRD-STRIKER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR HATE CRIME FOR ATTACKING ARAB MAN AT STARBUCKS
NEWPORT BEACH – A third-striker accused of attacking an Arab man in Starbucks will be arraigned today on charges of committing a hate crime. Anthony Tabarsi, 41, is charged with one count of felony assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement and one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer. The defendant is a third striker for three 1998 strike convictions for rape by force or fear, penetration by foreign object by force, and oral copulation of a minor under 14 by force, and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in prison if convicted on the current charges. He is being held on $25,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Tuesday, April 17, 2007, at 1:30 p.m. in Department H-2, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
On April 16, 2007, Tabarsi is accused of walking into the Starbucks at 2701 Harbor Boulevard in Costa Mesa. The victim and two of his friends were sitting at a table speaking Arabic, and as Tabarsi walked past, he is accused of mocking the men by making fun of their language and using expletives to tell them he hates Arabs and that he thought that all Arabs are terrorists. After using the restroom, the defendant is accused of approaching the victim and his friends again, calling them names, and challenging them to a fight. The victim, 25, followed the defendant outside, and Tabarsi is accused of pulling a folding knife from his pocket, opening the blade, and swinging it at the victim. The victim’s friend stepped in to protect him from the assault, and the defendant is accused of fleeing 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 is prosecuting this case.