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September 26, 2023
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Los Gatos man charged with hate crime scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 16

A 62-year-old Los Gatos man has been charged with a hate crime in Santa Clara County Superior Court for allegedly hitting and yelling at an Asian American woman.

On Oct. 5, around 11:45am, Richard Hanford encountered Berlina Moeharjo as she walked her dog down the sidewalk along University Avenue, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Standing 6-feet-and-2-inches tall, and at 200 pounds, Hanford is a sturdy figure, compared to the 5-foot-105-pound Asian American woman, who he told to move out of his way, prosecutors said.

“This is America,” Hanford told Moeharjo, punctuating the statement with an expletive, according to a release from the DA’s office.

Then he hit her in the face, twice, prosecutors said.

Under the penal code of California, a hate crime is defined as a criminal act committed because of a victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a person or group with one or more of these “actual or perceived” characteristics.

Hanford was charged with a misdemeanor hate crime Oct. 29.

The specific offense he’s accused of—PC 422.6(a)—states that no one “shall by force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate, interfere with, oppress, or threaten any other person in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or laws of this state or by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”

According to prosecutors, Moeharjo had told Hanford he could walk around her.

“Our community deeply values diversity, respects it, seeks it,” DA Jeff Rosen said. “Intolerance is not an American ideal.”

Hanford was also charged with misdemeanor battery for “willfully and unlawfully” using violence on the Asian American woman.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 16.

A DA spokesperson declined an interview request about the case.

The District Attorney’s office has requested Hanford disclose the names and addresses of the people he plans to call as witnesses at a potential trial, within 15 days, along with any relevant written or recorded statements.

In a separate incident, on the afternoon of Aug. 25, Santa Clara County prosecutors say a 56-year-old Redwood City man spat at an elderly Persian-American man, of San Jose, and told him, “Go back to your (expletive deleted) country.”

Salesman David Greenburg had knocked on the front door of a South San Jose location, and the victim, who didn’t speak English very well, answered, the DA’s office said.

“No English, my son will call you back,” he replied, according to prosecutors.

The defendant kicked the bottom of the screen door the victim was standing behind and spat in his direction, the release states, adding the man spat again in the victim’s direction as he walked away.

“The victim’s son heard this exchange and quickly walked to the front door to confront the defendant,” the Nov. 2 release states. “Instead of a physical confrontation, the son decided to call the police.”

Greenburg faces a hate crime and an assault charge, and is due in court Dec. 6.

Drew Penner
Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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