The woman who was seen in a series of viral videos yelling racist obscenities toward Asian Americans in a Torrance Park has been contacted by authorities, but not arrested, police said Wednesday.
Detectives with the Torrance Police Department as well as members of a specialized Crisis Intervention Team, made contact with the suspect, identified as Lena Hernandez, 56, in a San Pedro park on Wednesday, Sgt. Alexander Martinez said.
Investigators spoke with Hernandez about the rants, which were filmed by her targets, as well as a third incident that allegedly occurred in October of last year at the Del Amo Mall, in which the 56-year-old was accused of pushing and striking a woman.
“Based on the fact all three incidents are misdemeanor crimes and did not occur in the presence of an officer, Hernandez was not arrested at the time of the interview,'' Martinez said.
Investigators submitted details of their interview with Hernandez to the Torrance City Prosecutor's Office, Martinez added.
Police began looking for Hernandez after two videos went viral online. In the first, Hernandez was seen yelling at a young woman who was exercising at the Torrance Park.
“Go back to whatever (expletive) Asian country you belong in,'' the woman yelled. “... This is not your place. This is not your home. We do not want you here.''
Then, a second video of the woman went viral. In the video posted last Thursday, Hernandez can be heard verbally accosting an Asian man and his son.
“You need to go home,'' the woman tells the man.
Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey on Friday also condemned what he saw on the videos.
“The city of Torrance does not in any way condone the language or activities that were done in our public space, Wilson Park, by this suspect,'' Furey said. “In fact, it's nauseating to absolutely anybody in our community. We are a diverse community -- more than 80 languages spoken in the city of Torrance, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of our population are Asian or Asian-Pacific Islander.
“More than 200 Japanese businesses have their corporate headquarters in our city. ... We truly are a diverse population and businesses community. That's what incensed us about this.''