Prosecutors should charge the owner of an Asian business who they now say falsely accused Anthony Dishari of a hate crime. And the politicians who rushed to condemn the fake attack should be just as vigorous in condemning hate crime hoaxers.
The last two weeks could have ruined the life of Dishari, an Air Force veteran. Police arrested him for attacking the owner of an Asian business after supposedly berating employees with racial slurs. Prosecutors charged with him with a series of felonies.
Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Dickerson said the attack was “motivated by racism” and “totally random.”
Some Democrats rushed to condemn it, portraying it as part of a trend.
“In Nevada, our diversity is our strength and there’s no place for hate,” Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted.
Attorney General Aaron Ford tweeted that he was “deeply disturbed by this latest anti-Asian hate incident.” He added, “It is critical that we hold perpetrators of hate crimes and attacks accountable.”
After these politicians piled on, police sent prosecutors video of the confrontation. It showed the business owner pulled a gun on Dishari. Dickerson said Dishari had the “right to defend himself.” Prosecutors said he didn’t use racial slurs.
The obvious question: Why did prosecutors charge Dishari when there was video exonerating him?
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said the police’s initial report came “without video evidence.” The police found the video during their investigation. After receiving it, “we immediately caused Mr. Dishari to be released from custody,” Wolfson said.
That’s to the DA office’s credit, but the work isn’t done. In an interview, Dishari’s attorney Sean Sullivan noted, “Aiming a firearm and then discharging” it is illegal. “I would like to know if they are going to prosecute (the business owner) for attacking my client.”
Barring any new information, prosecutors also need to charge the business owner for lying to police. Without that video footage, Dishari could be looking at years in jail and being forever tainted as a racist.
Wolfson said there will probably be a decision on charging the business owner in “a couple of weeks. We want to go over everything.”
Such lengthy deliberation didn’t occur when it came to charging Dishari. I asked Sullivan if he thought prosecutors moved more swiftly because his client had been accused of a hate crime. “I think that’s part of it,” he said.
Wolfson said his office brought charges because “we felt the (initial) evidence was sufficient.”
There’s probably no way to know for sure how or if the hate crime accusation factored in, but it’s a reminder about the dangers of rushing to judgment.
Sullivan said no elected officials reached out to apologize to his client. Sisolak and Ford’s offices didn’t respond to a request for comment. Credit to Clark County Commissioner and Democrat Michael Naft who said when asked, “I regret reacting” to the wrong information. It’s “shameful” that someone “would use the cover of racism to shield their actions,” he said.
It is shameful, but it doesn’t fit Democrats’ systemic racism narrative, so don’t expect Sisolak and Ford to proactively condemn it. When it comes to holding accountable perpetrators of hate crimes hoaxes, their silence is deafening.