Hate Crime or Discrimination? 

Hate crime or discrimination

Hate Crime or Discrimination?

By Maryann Montemayor

There was a story in the news recently about an elderly Filipino-American man that was beaten up by his neighbor. Amadeo Quindara, 75, was punched and slammed to the ground by his neighbor, Christian Lentz, 44, for allegedly speaking Tagalog within the confines of his own home. Lentz who lives two doors down from the victim, walked into Quindara’s garage and assaulted him. He could be heard shouting “die!” and “you should be in a ventilator you Japanese!”.

Lentz was arrested and charged with felony residential burglary.  According to former District Attorney David Roger, Lentz avoided additional charges because the beating was not caught on camera.  Furthermore, Roger also said there needs to be a loss of limb, loss of bodily function, or prolonged pain and suffering to prove a felony.  However, that sounds more like assault.  There is a fine line between assault and battery.
Why was Lentz charged with residential burglary?  Why didn’t the police immediately charge Lentz with battery?   Nevada law (NRS § 200.481), defines the crime of battery as “any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.” A simple battery that does not cause injury is treated as a misdemeanor. The punishment includes up to 6 months in jail, and fines of up to $1000.00.  Common examples of battery are punching and kicking but can also include throwing objects at, punching, slapping, kicking, spitting at, poisoning, and strangling a person.  If the victim sustained substantial bodily harm or was strangled, battery is a category C felony that can include 1 – 5 years in prison, and up to a $10,000 fine (at the judge’s discretion).  Otherwise, battery is a misdemeanor which can include up to 6 months in jail, and/or up to $1,000 fine.


The current Clark District Attorney, Steven Wolfson has elevated the charges to a hate crime and elderly abuse.  DA Wolfson in a statement said, “These actions are unacceptable and will have consequences”.

A rally has been scheduled to raise awareness to stop hate crimes happening in different parts of the country.  Although the show of solidarity regarding this matter is commendable, I feel the need to bring up other important issues and questions.

As a Filipina- American who has lived in America for over 30 years, I have been lucky to have never experienced discrimination although I am very aware it exists.  In my two years living in Las Vegas, I have seen the diversity of people and cultures and have embraced it.  It is this acceptance of different people that has made this city special.  Racism and bigotry have no place in this town or any society.  Sadly, in the last few years, the silent minority of racists and bigots have emerged loudly, and they need to be held accountable when they cross the line.  Such statements as calling covid the China virus adds fuel to this fire.  For example, the assailant was shouting “you Japanese”.  Hate crimes affect not only Asians but the Hispanic community as well.

We have been the quiet ones. We have been the group that seem to be a target for abuse since culturally, we remain docile.  I have never been quiet or docile.  So, as I write this article, I will encourage all those who are outraged by what happened to Mr. Quindara to write to their Congressman and Police department and make your voices heard and counted.  I want to make sure that I am protected from some nutcase when I am in my own home.  Victims should not have to lose a limb before their assailant can be charged with assault.

The reality is that hate will never be eradicated.  The only way to discourage those capable of physical harm is to toughen the punishment and for authorities to hand out harsher sentences and penalties.  At the end of the day, the question lingers, if a white man was beaten by an Asian man in his own home, would the charges have been different from the start?