Police investigate California woman seen delivering anti-Asian rants in several videos

Authorities say the woman is responsible for two incidents caught on video, as well as an assault on a woman at a mall in October 2019.

ByEileen Frere WTVD logo
Saturday, June 13, 2020
Torrance Tirade: Another encounter reported with woman in anti-Asian rant
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Other people are coming forward to report hostile encounters with a woman who was recorded delivering an anti-Asian rant in a Torrance park. This raw video shows one such alleged incident.

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Several Southern California residents have recorded videos of anti-Asian altercations with the same woman that are under investigation by the police.

Lena Hernandez, a 56-year-old resident of Long Beach, has been identified by police as the woman involved in at least three racist altercations. One involved a woman who was verbally abused while trying to exercise in a Torrance park Wednesday.

She was exercising on a set of steps Hernandez reportedly walked by and bumped her. "Jesus," the exercising woman muttered. That was enough to set off Hernandez, who then started on a tirade that lasted for several minutes.

"This is not just for you. Get the (expletive) out of this state. Go back to whatever Asian country you belong in," she is heard saying in the video.

Police said she delivered similar language toward an Asian American man who was at the park with his children that day.

Hernandez is also a suspect in the verbal assault of another woman at a local mall back in October of last year, according to Torrance Police Chief Eve Berg.

"This unfortunate incident involved an older female suspect verbally assaulting a custodian and then physically assaulting another individual who was acting as a good Samaritan when they attempted to intervene," she said at a Friday press conference.

Crime reports have been taken in all three incidents.

Berg dispelled some reports that identified the woman as another person with a different name and any connection to the department or any other local law enforcement agencies. She also said there's no indication to believe that Hernandez herself has any relations to Torrance police or other agencies.

Berg added that investigators have been to multiple locations in an attempt to find Hernandez but have not had any success. Authorities are asking the public to contact the department with any information about her whereabouts.

The police chief said that they are looking at the possibility that mental illness may have played a role in the incidents.

Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey condemned the language that was used, saying "it's absolutely nauseating to anybody in our community."

Torrance police are also asking that any other people who have experienced similar incidents come forward. It's unclear what charges, if any, Hernandez might face, but all three cases are expected to be presented to the city prosecutor's office.