Man charged with hate crime after allegedly beating transgender woman with a skateboard

hate crime

A California man who allegedly beat a transgender woman with his skateboard has been charged with a hate crime.

23-year-old Costa Mesa resident Johnny Santos Moreno appeared in court on Thursday (11 March). He was charged with felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and threatening a witness, along with a hate crime enhancement.

Moreno is accused of yelling a homophobic slur at the transgender woman before striking her repeatedly her with his skateboard, the Orange County district attorney’s office said in a news release.

The man was interrupted when someone driving past the scene saw what was happening and called the police, the court heard. Moreno is also accused of using his skateboard to threaten the bystander for reporting the incident to authorities.

The severity of the woman’s injuries isn’t known as further details of the crime have yet to be released to the public. However, inmate records showed that on Friday afternoon (12 March) Moreno remained in custody in the county jail. His bail has been set at $25,000.

“No one should have to live in the shadow of fear that they will be targeted and physically attacked because of the way they dress, speak, behave, or who they love,” Orange County district attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement to the East Bay Times.

“Our differences – whether the colour of our skin, our sexuality, or our religion – should be causes for the celebration of our diversity, not targets on our backs for haters to mock, deride, harass, and harm us.

“Those who engage in hate-motivated crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law here in Orange County,” he added.

The defendant was ordered to return to court on 26 March, but it is not clear from court records whether he entered a plea. If convicted on all counts he could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison.