By Erianne Lewis | Staff Writer
An Asian American Baylor student was assaulted by four men near the intersection of South 3rd Street and Gurley Lane around 2 a.m. Sunday. Waco police are opening an investigation into the incident.
The student, who has chosen to remain anonymous for his own safety, was leaving a friend’s house with his girlfriend around 2 a.m. Sunday after a small gathering, when a truck drove by and the driver yelled out racial slurs at the student. The student yelled back “What did you say?” which led the men in the truck to pull over and get out. There was a brief argument, and one of the men from the truck physically assaulted the student.
“I heard some people who were in the vehicle yelling racial slurs at me such as Ch-ng Ch-ng, mocking and making fun of Asian-descent languages. I decided to [stand] up for myself and yelled back at them: ‘What did you say?’” the student said. “Apparently, the people who were in the car got mad and stopped the car, four males came out from the car, three of them were white, one of them was Black. We started arguing, one of them started getting very close to me and punched me in the face. My glasses flew off, and I fell into the ground. The group laughed and hopped into their car and drove away. My girlfriend was scared and hiding in the car. She called for help, then my friends showed up when the group [had] already left.”
The student said that he suspects the men to be college-aged, around 20-years-old or so. The student wrote that he is enduring aftereffects from the assault.
“From the attack, I’m experiencing pains on my jaw, my teeth, and I have a headache. My eye has blood within it due to a ruptured vessel,” the student said.
The student said he initially did not take any action the same night because he felt disorientated by the situation.
“I called Waco Police Department [the next] day,” the student said. “A police officer is working on this now.”
Officer Garen Bynum of the Waco Police Department wrote in a statement to the Lariat that Waco PD is working on assigning the case. After that, they will be able to work towards developing leads.
“As of now we have not had any other crimes or assaults that I have been able to locate in relation to this type of incident. This particular case will be assigned to an investigator in our assault unit but has not been assigned as of now,” Bynum wrote. “If anyone has information regarding this case, we ask that they please reach out to the Waco PD Assault Unit so we can look into and develop those leads.”
The student said that he also filed a Clery report, a campus security authority incident report, with Baylor.
“The Clery Office emailed me back this morning and offered me help which is helpful. They said they will have a manager to help me to speak with the Waco PD and address the incident was a hate crime instead of a simple assault. I just emailed them back, and I’m still waiting on their response,” the student said. “To be more accurate, this is a part of their email: ‘Based on the information we have been provided, you can report the incident to law enforcement as a hate crime.’”
The student who was assaulted said after speaking with his friends who live in a house near where the assault happened, he realized that this was not an isolated event.
“I communicated this incident with my friends who live in the house. Apparently, in the past, my Asian-descent friends have felt pressure and discrimination from [their] community,” the student said. “For example, some of them at their house enjoy taking their dog for walks. From time to time, people will honk or yell racial slurs at them as they pass by. However, they often just faced the discrimination in silence and never retaliated back out of fear that the situation would escalate.”
Glen Carbon, Ill., junior Joshua Myung, a friend of the student who was assaulted, said he also knows of Asian American students on Baylor’s campus that have experienced racial slurs being said to them by other students. He said many students have remained silent out of fear of the situation spiraling.
“We’ve mostly stayed silent throughout,” Myung said. “We didn’t want to escalate the situation, but the one time that my friend stood up for himself, the first time he stood up for himself … just for that he got physically assaulted for it. It’s just awful that somebody is being targeted because they’re Asian and because of their race, and even standing up for yourself and standing up for your race provokes such action, especially by Baylor students. These are college kids that did this to him.”