Two women claim they were victims of a hate crime at Eureka coffee shop

Eureka, Ca. (KIEM) — Two women were allegedly the victims of a hate crime Tuesday night at Starbucks in downtown Eureka.

Letitia Gaillard and Aimee Upchurch said a man hurled racial slurs and became aggressive with them.

It all started after Gaillard stepped outside and the man borrowed the chair she was sitting in to charge his phone. When Gaillard returned, he refused to give the chair back.

Upchurch said she was hurt while trying to protect her friend and Gaillard sustained a foot injury.

One man reportedly stepped in to break things up and the assailant fled the scene before police arrived.

Redwood News reached out to Starbucks, and they would not comment on the incident. Both women have tried contacting the store manager, but have not heard back.

Eureka police took statements and filed a report. The male suspect is facing two charges of assault and two charges of battery. Gaillard hopes anyone with information about the man will come forward. He is a white male adult in his 30’s, 6 feet tall with short blonde hair.

The women said police told them if the man is located, the district attorney has the final say on whether or not this will be charged as a hate crime, and that nothing else can be done until the man is caught.