DC police investigate tea shop attack as a hate crime


The owner of Valley Brook Tea was attacked and sprayed at his shop on Tuesday morning.

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The owner of Northwest Washington’s Valley Brook Tea says a man attacked him with pepper spray on Tuesday morning.

The shop posted surveillance video on Twitter. A man walks into the shop with his face mask pushed below his chin and shouts about COVID-19. Yunhan Zhang tells him to go away, and the man curses at him and sprays him with something.

Zhang tweeted photos of his stained clothes and face mask. “I’m not injured. However the burning has not stopped after hours,” he said. “I don’t know what to say anymore. This type of hate crime happened to us again. If you recognize him, please contact us or call 911.”

D.C. Councilmember Brooke Pinto says she’s working with the Metropolitan Police Department to identify the suspect. The tea shop is located in Pinto’s ward.

Coincidentally, Pinto says hate crime legislation she worked on with the D.C. attorney’s general office is expected to be passed in the judiciary committee on November 23.

“These types of hate crimes will not be tolerated in our community,” Pinto said. “It is really important that we no only have the legislation and the law to back that up but that our community leaders speak up and ensure that we are all on the same page: that that type of harassment will not be tolerated.”

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