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California man who drove into crowd at Stop Asian Hate rally sentenced to 1 year in prison

A California man who pleaded guilty to driving a car into a crowd of “Stop Asian Hate” protesters was sentenced Monday to a year in prison.

Steve Lee Dominguez, 58, of Diamond Bar in southern California, drove his car into the crowd at a 2021 rally in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors said he deliberately drove through a red light and walked into a crosswalk where peaceful protesters were walking. He narrowly missed several protesters and a 9-year-old child.

Dominguez then got out of his car and began shouting “racial epithets,” including the N-word “Go back to China,” and threatening protesters, prosecutors said.

The rally took place in March 2021 in response to the Atlanta spa shootings earlier that month, in which a shooter killed eight people, including six Asian women. In the weeks that followed, “Stop Asian Hate” protests and rallies took place in cities across the country.

Dominguez was arrested in May 2022 for participating in the Los Angeles rally and has since been free on $30,000 bail.

In October 2023, he pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge: one count of bias-motivated interference with federally protected activities. His one-year sentence this week is consistent with the terms of the plea agreement.

“Mr. Dominguez’s decision to attack a peaceful rally intended to raise awareness of anti-Asian hatred was both illegal and un-American,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada told NBC News in October. “My office will remain faithful to our commitment to protecting civil rights against those who would seek to infringe on our constitutional rights.”

Dominguez’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.