A homeless man has been charged with a hate crime after attempting to rob a woman of Korean descent in Downtown Santa Monica. 

According to the District Attorney’s office, Melvin Taylor faces one felony count each of attempted second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon (a car door), and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. He is also being charged with a hate crime enhancement.

SMPD said the victim and a family member were parking her car on the 1500 block of 2nd Street on July 23. When the victim went to pay for a meter, Taylor approached, asked for money and questioned the victim’s ethnicity. When he was not given money, Taylor began yelling racial slurs, ranting about the Coronavirus.

According to SMPD, when the victim attempted to get back into her car, Taylor kicked the car door causing the victim to be pinned between the door and frame of the vehicle. Taylor continued to strike her while yelling racial slurs. The victim was able to pepper spray Taylor, however it had little to no effect. Taylor took the victim’s phone and threw it on the ground before unsuccessfully attempting to take her purse. Nearby witnesses intervened to assist the victim before officers arrived. 

“A hate crime against one of us is truly a crime against all of us,” District Attorney Gascón said in a statement. “I am committed to stopping hate in our community.”

Anyone with any additional information related to this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Burciaga with the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) at (310) 458-8932 or by email at George.Burciaga@smgov.net. 

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...