A man was arrested Wednesday, June 16 after chasing and punching a Black man walking home from work in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The assailant, 24-year-old John Arellano, told police he should have killed the man and that he is at war with Black people and has been charged with a hate crime and attempted murder, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, citing records from the Clark County Detention Center.
Authorities received a call at around 5 p.m. about a man being chased down the street. When police arrived, they ordered a man, identified as Arellano, to get down on the ground, but he began began “marching” towards them yelling “I hate n—-ers!” Officers then fired a non-lethal bean bag round and a stungun at Arellano, who said as he was being placed under arrest, “I punched him.” He is also facing a charge of assault on a protected person because he advanced towards an officer at the scene.
According to the victim, Arellano chased him as he walked home for work then called him a racial slur and punched him in the eye near a bus stop at Fairwood Circle and Jones Boulevard. Arellano then chased the man for a 13-minute period over seven blocks and did not stop until officers arrived.
While en route to the hospital, Arellano allegedly told police “I should have killed that Black guy that I hit.” An officer asked if Arellano was referring to the victim, he replied, “yes, it can affect my pride,” and said he is at war with Black people.
Arellano also matches the description of a man who attempted to stab a black woman the night before in the same location.
Arellano is being held on $30,000 bail and has a status check scheduled for Tuesday morning.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in March that hate crimes against Black residents rose sharply in 2020, a trend seen in states across the country. In a year, reported hate crimes against Black people in the city more than doubled, and a majority share of the hate crime victims targeted because of race were Black.
“I can say personally, yes, I say that racism has raised its head, but made it a little bolder than before,” Roxann McCoy, president of the NAACP’s Las Vegas chapter, told the Review-Journal in March.
Jack McDevitt, a Northeastern University professor who has studied hate crimes for more than 30 years, told the Review-Journal underreporting of hate crimes is a serious concern, suggesting it may be tied to poor relationships between officers and the communities they serve.
“Underreporting is a significant problem, and it has a lot to do with a relationship with the police department and members of the targeted community, whether the community members feel anything can be done by police,” he said. “It’s going to call for maybe a more concerted response from law enforcement.”