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Plano mayor calls viral racist video 'appalling'

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Plano mayor John Muns said the video of a woman hurling racist slurs at a group of South Asian women outside a Plano restaurant was "appalling."

Muns was with leaders of the city’s South Asian community for a presentation when the video of the confrontation went viral on social media.

Plano is almost 22% Asian according to U.S. census data. Muns said he takes pride in Plano’s diversity and wants residents to feel safe.

“We are going to make sure that if there are issues that need to be addressed in regards to the way we are doing things for the entire community, that we do those things,” he said.

South Asian Voter Engagement of Texas is hosting a rally to call for justice on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Haggard Park.

Chanda Parbhoo, the executive director of the South Asian voting organization, said in a statement that people need to stand in solidarity with the victims

"Now is the time to stand up and show our friends, our family and our community that racism will not be tolerated."

Plano police arrested the woman in the video on Thursday. Esmerelda Upton is charged with misdemeanor assault and terroristic threats after confronting the women outside of a Sixty Vines restaurant Wednesday evening.

Police are investigating the attack as a hate crime, according to a press release shared on Thursday.

Rani Banerjee, one of the women who reported the attack, recorded the incident and posted it to her Facebook page.

In the video, Upton hit multiple women and made several racist statements.

“We don’t want you here,” Upton is seen in the video telling the other women. “If things are so great in your country, then stay there.”

Banerjee wrote in her Facebook post that she has lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 29 years.

She wrote she could not comment because of the ongoing police investigation.

“Never have I felt so humiliated, threatened, and scared for my life,” she wrote.

Upton is being held under a $10,000 bond. Police said additional charges could be filed later.

Caroline Love covers Collin County for KERA and is a member of the Report for America corps. Previously, Caroline covered daily news at Houston Public Media. She has a master's degree from Northwestern University with an emphasis on investigative social justice journalism. During grad school, she reported three feature stories for KERA. She also has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Texas Christian University and interned with KERA's Think in 2019.