A woman who was identified in connection with making racially-charged statements during the commission of a crime last month was arrested Friday.
Karen Inman, 39, was arrested after she attempted to steal candy and ice cream from a Smart and Final on the 100 block of East El Camino Real around 11 am on March 5. Inman had been previously identified in a theft from a store in downtown Mountain View in February and a subsequent battery at a downtown restaurant that included comments made against the victims because of their ethnicity.
On Feb. 13, officers responded to a market on the 200 block of Castro Street for reports that a woman had just taken food and clothing items from the store and refused to pay for them. During the course of the theft, the woman allegedly told the victims that she did not have to pay and she made statements about their Asian ethnicity.
A few minutes later, officers spotted the suspect walking downtown and detained her. While in the process of interviewing Inman, officers were told of a second call about a woman matching Inman’s description who had yelled at two patrons, one of whom was of Asian descent. As Inman was yelling racial epithets at the diner, she allegedly also spit in his direction.
At the time our officers interviewed both the victims of the theft and of the battery, neither party desire prosecution. Because neither crime was witnessed by our officers, Inman was released.
However, MVPD has a policy to proactively investigate any hate crimes so officers continued with the investigation and we brought the case to the District Attorney’s Office for review. Officials at the District Attorney’s Office reviewed our case, and they established that hate crime charges could be brought against Inman.
An arrest warrant was issued late last week, and today, officers arrested Inman. There was no indication that in the theft today Inman made any remarks regarding anyone’s ethnicity.
“This case is both disheartening and disturbing. Mountain View is a vibrant community in many ways thanks to the diversity that exists here,” said Chief Chris Hsiung. “Hate crimes have not and will not be tolerated in Mountain View and as this case demonstrates, we take these crimes seriously and will investigate them to the fullest extent.”
Inman, a transient, was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of petty theft, robbery, and two counts of violation of civil rights by force or threat.
Media inquiries can be sent to PIO Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.