Another Latino street vendor has been attacked in California in what is starting to feel like targeted attacks on vendors. Ice cream vendor Emilio Hernández was attacked by Mack Jackson, 42, at a gas station in National City, California, near San Diego, on April 29. The attack marks the latest in a string of attacks on street vendors in California, including flower vendor Ernesto Francisco, who was attacked by a woman in Inglewood the very same week as the attack on Hernández.
Jackson pulled up next to Hernández at an Arco gas station in National City while he was filling up his ice cream truck and began yelling and screaming racial slurs at Hernández. Jackson eventually began beating Hernández with a metal steering wheel lock. He was later arrested on May 9.
“That’s when the man came with one of those steering wheel locks and began to hit me,” Hernández told Telemundo 20 in Spanish, as reported by NBC 7 San Diego. “I raised my arms and I initially didn’t feel when I started to bleed. He threw me, he kicked me,” Hernández described the incident.
Hernández has been out of work since the incident due to an injury to his wrist and damage to his ice cream truck sustained during the attack, but he explained to Telemundo that the racial insults were the worst part of the attack. “When I was thrown on the ground, he told me, ‘I hate Mexicans and if I ever see you again, I’m going to kill you.’ He told me as simple as that, so it made me more afraid.”
Although Jackson fled the scene, National City police took swift action after reporting to the scene of the attack. They collected statements from witnesses who were able to describe the attacker as well as reviewed security surveillance footage that enabled them to identify Jackson. He was eventually arrested as he was in the process of committing vandalism just 10 days after attacking Hernández. Jackson has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, driving under the influence of drugs, resisting an officer, and vandalism, and is being held at the San Diego County Jail on $50,000 bail.
The apparently increasing number of attacks on Latino street vendors, particularly throughout California, has been drawing attention for months now from individuals and groups who believe these attacks may be hate crimes against Latinos and immigrants. The hashtags, #ProtectStreetVendors and #RespectStreetVendors have been circulating on Instagram and other social media sites, as crimes against street vendors have continued to surge, in the hopes of bringing awareness to the dangers many of these small business owners are faced with daily.