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Texas woman convicted of hate crimes for racist attacks on Asian-American women

A woman in Plano, Texas, has been convicted of hate crimes in connection with a 2022 incident in which several Asian American women were physically and verbally attacked.

Esmeralda Upton, 59, was found guilty Friday of three counts of assault and one count of terroristic threatening, the Collin County District Attorney announced. Each of the charges carries an aggravated state hate crime. Upton is alleged to have chosen her victims based on bias and prejudice toward their race and nationality, a press release said.

Upton was previously accused of attacking four South Asian women outside a restaurant two years ago. During the altercation, she made racist remarks, attempted to hit the women and told them to “go back to India,” a video of the incident shows.

Upton pleaded guilty to all four counts and was sentenced to two years' probation and 40 days in the Collin County Jail for each count, which he served concurrently.

“As Americans, we should all be able to enjoy our constitutional freedoms and be protected from these types of racially motivated attacks,” said Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis.

Upton's attorney, J. Joseph Mongaras Jr., did not respond to NBC News' request for comment.

The incident occurred in August 2022 in the parking lot of Sixty Vines restaurant, where Upton physically assaulted three of the women and threatened a fourth, according to prosecutors.

When one of the victims once described Upton as white, she said she was Mexican.

“I was born here,” Upton says in the video.

At one point, Upton told the women: “We don’t want you here.”

“If things are going so well in your country, stay there,” Upton says in the video recorded by one of the victims.

Upton appears to walk away at another point, but then returns and lunges at the victims, visibly hitting the phone used to record the video.

When one of the victims tries to explain that she is a naturalized citizen, Upton replies, “You are a naturalized citizen. You are not a natural-born citizen.”

“Even after Plano police arrived on the scene, Upton continued her racially motivated comments and was eventually arrested on state charges,” the press release said.

Anamika Chatterjee, one of the victims, read a statement before Upton's verdict describing the profound impact the attack had on her and her family.

“My American-born children look like Indians. Because of your hatred and attacks, I am now constantly afraid for them,” Chatterjee said. “This is the worst effect of what you did to me – this constant worry and fear. It still amazes me that a person from a minority background like you – which you boasted about during the incident – behaves like this, without a trace of shame.”

A civil lawsuit filed by the victims against Upton is still pending.

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com.

Anna Harden

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