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

Steve Lee Dominguez pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights charge after driving his car through a red light, narrowly missing protesters.
Asian community members hold signs calling for hate to stop
A protest against hate crimes in Los Angeles in 2021.Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

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

Steve Lee Dominguez, 58, from the Southern Californian city of Diamond Bar, drove his car through the middle of the crowd at a 2021 rally in Los Angeles. Federal prosecutors said he deliberately drove through a red light and into a crosswalk where peaceful demonstrators were marching. He narrowly missed hitting multiple protesters and a 9-year-old child.

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

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

Dominguez was arrested in May 2022 for driving into the Los Angeles rally, and has been free on a $30,000 bond since then. 

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

“Mr. Dominguez’s decision to attack a peaceful rally meant to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate was both unlawful and un-American,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada told NBC News in October. “My Office will remain steadfast in our commitment to safeguard civil rights against those who would seek to undermine our constitutional rights.”’

Lawyers for Dominguez did not immediately respond to a request for comment.