SEATTLE — More acts of hate against people of Asian descent in Seattle. On Friday, King County prosecutors charged a man with a hate crime after he harassed and chased two women in Beacon Hill, as well as a mom and her young kids in South Seattle.
Pamela Cole said she and her 10-year-old daughter were rallying together at a stop Asian hate event in Seattle in mid-March.
“Trying to teach her we’ve got to stand up, this is not okay, you know? And then - it happens to us,” Cole said.
Prosecutors identify the suspect as 51-year-old Christopher Hamner. Court documents say Cole was driving on Martin Luther King Jr Way near Graham St with her two kids, ages 10 and 5. Cole said she is Chinese and Malaysian and her kids are Chinese, Malaysian, and Black.
The incident happened while they were at a stop light.
“The moment he made eye contact with me he stopped, opens his door and he’s screaming, ‘F--- you, you Asian b----. F--- you!’ and I was in complete shock. Are you talking to me?” Cole said.
Then she said things escalated.
“He jumps out the car and he’s charging at us,” she said. “That was the scariest part for me.
“He comes to my window and he’s in the middle of the street and he’s like get out! Get out!” she said, punching her fists together.
Cole said she grew up around guns and is very familiar with firearms, but had trouble telling if Hamner had a weapon.
“My daughter is right behind me and my son is right behind me. And I’m like, we are just sitting ducks,” she said, emotional.
“My car, I locked my door. That was my safety - I’m going to lock my door. I had nothing. I just felt so defenseless and so helpless. And you know as a mom, all we want to do is take care of our kids and protect them,” Cole said.
“Then thank god the light changed. And even as we were running through and trying to turn, he’s still throwing things at us, and watching as I’m turning and watching where I’m going,” she said.
Cole said they pulled into a nearby business to call 911, but after waiting for 20 minutes, they were worried Hamner would figure out where they were and didn’t feel safe staying there to wait for police.
That happened on March 16. Then on Friday, March 19, prosecutors say the suspect targeted two other Asian women in a very similar incident in Beacon Hill.
Their dash cam video showed the suspect’s black sedan cutting them off.
Charging documents said Hamner shouted, “F--- you, Asian!”
The two women in the car pull over into a parking lot. That’s when the suspect got out of his car and ran towards them.
“Oh my God, go, go go!” you hear a woman say in the video.
Cole said when she saw the video on Instagram, was hard for her to watch.
“I saw that video I was shaking. Because see that video of him charging at them? And that rage in his eyes? It was the exact same thing we saw,” Cole said.
She said while she processed what happened, at first she wasn’t sure whether to formally report it.
“Part of me was like, I’m no victim,” she said. The morning she decided to share her story, she saw the video of an Chinese grandmother in San Francisco fighting back against her attacker. Cole said it’s something that solidified her decision to speak out – her way of fighting back.
“I was like, heck yeah. That’s what we do. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re no victims here,” she said.
As for Hamner, the suspect, a family friend of Cole’s recognized the man from a photo Cole posted and helped identify him to police.
Seattle police arrested Hamner on Thursday.
“We not our grandmother’s generation anymore. We are not our mother’s generation. This generation will speak up. We will report it. We’re not going to just stand by and act like nothing happened,” Cole said. “We are saying enough is enough - you will see us, you will hear us, and you will respect us,” she said.