A California man has been charged with a hate crime after he was recorded verbally harassing an Indian man at a Taco Bell, hurling anti-Hindu comments and racist slurs.
Singh Tejinder, 37, of Union City, was charged Monday with a hate crime in violation of civil rights, assault and disturbing the peace by offensive language, the Fremont Police Department said. Tejinder was listed in charging documents as “Asian/Indian.”
Krishnan Jayaraman alleged to NBC Bay Area that Tejinder verbally attacked him in the Taco Bell at the 40000 block of Grimmer Boulevard in Fremont on Aug. 21.
Tejinder could not be reached by phone Tuesday.
Jayaraman recorded the tirade, which lasted over eight minutes, on his phone, capturing the moment Tejinder told him: “You’re disgusting, dog. You look nasty. Don’t come out in public like this again.”
In the foul-mouthed rant, Tejinder called him a “dirty Hindu,” repeatedly used the N-word, insinuated that Jayaraman didn’t eat meat and yelled “beef!” in his face. He appeared to spit at Jayaraman twice in the video.
At one point Tejinder was seen saying: “B—-, this ain’t India! You f—ed India up, and now you’re f—ing America up.”
Fremont police confirmed the video to NBC News.
Jayaraman said he was frightened by the incident and was even more upset to learn later that the perpetrator was also Indian.
“I was scared, to be honest with you. I was infuriated on the one hand, but I was scared that what if this guy becomes too belligerent and then comes after me?” he told NBC Bay Area.
Police responded around 8:20 p.m., found the two men “in an active argument” and interviewed both.
In the interview of Tejinder, “it was confirmed that a disparaging comment about a particular religion was stated during the verbal argument,” police said.
Police later reviewed the video of the interaction and said they saw one man “directing religious slurs and derogatory comments towards the person holding the camera.”
Jayaraman was contacted for another interview, and police then presented the case to the Alameda County district attorney’s office for review, culminating in the charges.
Tejinder was not in Alameda County custody Tuesday, police said. He is on probation with a petition to revoke the probation, authorities said.
“A court date has been set where the suspect will be held to answer for the above listed on-view charges,” a police spokesperson said.
Jayaraman told NBC News he is “relieved” that the incident will go to court but expressed disappointment with how Fremont police characterized the incident. He said that he never argued back with Tejinder and that they didn’t have to be separated.
“Since such characterization, the scrutiny that followed on me has left me emotionally drained and in distress that I am forced to relive every moment of it all over again,” he said in a statement, adding that he is still grateful that police showed up.
Taco Bell said in a statement that it is aware of the incident, calling the actions in the video “troubling, upsetting and not consistent with the brand’s inclusive values to respect and welcome customers of all backgrounds.”
Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.