Racism behind beating of Asian American business owner, prosecutor says

Anthony Dishari, right, accused of beating a store owner while purportedly uttering racial slur ...

A Las Vegas man accused of attacking an Asian American business owner early Saturday mercilessly beat the victim after uttering racist slurs at the businessman’s employees, a prosecutor said in court Wednesday.

Anthony Dishari, 36, is charged with battery resulting in substantial bodily harm motivated by hate and three other felonies in the 12:02 a.m. beating outside Cloud Tea, 4045 S. Buffalo Drive, near Flamingo Road.

During a bail hearing for Dishari in Las Vegas Justice Court early Wednesday, Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Dickerson said the owner of the business was called to the store Friday night by employees. The employees reported that a man had twice entered the business and yelled racial slurs at them. Dickerson said the business owner showed up with an unloaded firearm in his pocket. He was in the parking lot when he was attacked.

“The next thing he remembered is laying face down, his hand still in his right pocket where the firearm was,” Dickerson said. “The firearm was still in his pocket. He remembers the defendant demanding his gun, saying give me your gun, as he is beating him mercilessly. He suffered severe injuries. Fractured ribs, broken teeth, abrasions throughout his face … the picture of his face is just unbelievable.”

Dickerson said the crime was “motivated by racism.”

“What this is is an attack on people in our community that he has no connection to,” Dickerson said. “It is totally random.”

Dickerson said that after the beating Dishari went back into Cloud Tea “where there are nine people sitting there, all Asian Americans.”

“The defendant is in there holding up his bloody hands saying ‘Do you think I’m a (expletive) joke? You think this is a joke,’ ” Dickerson said. “Then, demanding the people at the restaurant, that he’d been calling racial slurs all night, give him water.”

Dickerson said all nine people left the restaurant and that Dishari is “following them out still taunting them.” The prosecutor said Dishari at some point took cash out of a tip jar at the business.

Dishari’s attorney, Sean Sullivan, said his client is not a racist. Sullivan said Dishari is a veteran who works as an armed security officer in Summerlin. Dishari was drinking at the nearby Magoo’s Bar and Grill, Sullivan said, when he left the bar and was jumped. Moments later, Dishari was approached by another man with a weapon and “a fight ensued.”

“He does have ties to the community,” Sullivan said. “He graduated in 2003 from Durango High School. He wasn’t a racist in high school, and he’s not a racist now. He wasn’t a racist in the U.S. military when he joined the Air Force after high school.”

Justice of the Peace Robert Walsh set bail at $25,000, noting “this is a substantial crime. We have an obligation to protect the community.”

Saturday’s reported attack has only furthered concerns about the safety of Asian Americans in the Las Vegas Valley following the Dec. 20 shooting of a waiter in Chinatown.

Las Vegas police said Chengyan Wang was shot 11 times in an after-hours burglary at the ShangHai Taste eatery, 4266 W. Spring Mountain Road. Wang was working in Las Vegas to support his loved ones in China. He survived but faces a long road to recovery.

A transient, Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, 23, has been charged with attempted murder and two other felonies in Wang’s shooting.

Las Vegas police have repeatedly met with members of the Asian American community in recent weeks to discuss enhancing public safety partnerships. Another meeting with community leaders, Clark County commissioners and police Capt. Michelle Tavarez of the Spring Valley Area Command took place Tuesday.

Sonny Vinuya, president of the Las Vegas Asian Chamber of Commerce, praised police for their responses to the violence.

“I want to thank Las Vegas police for being so helpful and supportive and making sure we are safe, showing we will not tolerate this kind of behavior,” Vinuya said. “Watch out for each other. This is a time we all need to be vigilant, to work together, and to keep everyone safe.”

The Asian Community Development Council also issued a statement Wednesday from its Las Vegas office.

“In light of the latest attack targeting the owner of Cloud Tea Boba in Las Vegas, the Asian Community Development Council stands with Metro police and our community partners in condemning any violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in this community,” the statement read. “Change will come when we stand together with one voice to demand an end to hate and discrimination.”

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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