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Seattle police investigating ugly incident involving racial slurs captured on cellphone

SEATTLE — A heated moment was captured on a cell phone on the streets of Capitol Hill.

We’ve chosen to blur the faces and bleep the racial slurs; something Aditya Asastry can’t do mentally because he experienced it firsthand.

Aditya says he and two friends stopped to grab some pizza after a night out on Saturday. He says they were approached by a stranger as they waited in line on the sidewalk.

“My friend, who’s American but of Puerto Rican descent, was the first one she targeted. And myself and my other friend kind of distanced ourselves, like hey let’s not do this tonight. And she followed us down and continued to escalate things and became more and more agitated and she started calling me things like terrorist,” says Aditya.

Aditya says he recorded the situation for his own protection.

“She noticed that and slapped the camera out of my hand, ultimately breaking my phone,” he says.

Aditya says he and his friends walked around the corner to get away from the woman, but the damage was already done.

“When I went home it was much more painful to kind of process the things that were being said. The things about 'get out of my country' and the more divisive rhetoric that was said was really what gets to me,” he says.

Aditya reported the incident to Seattle Police, who say they are investigating the incident.

And while this incident is not being labeled a “hate crime” at this point in the investigation, it’s by no means the first time we’ve reported on a culture of hate-related incidents.

Just last week in Auburn, we heard from the mother of 26-year-old Dashawn Horne. Investigators allege a man beat Dashawn with a baseball bat because of the color of his skin.

And back in November, King County prosecutors charged fugitive Casey Schmidt with malicious harassment after he was caught on cellphone video threatening a group of Hispanic construction workers.

Self-defense coach Mac McGregor says taking a self-defense course at least once a year could be useful if you ever find yourself in a situation like this.

“It’s best to disengage, but do it in a smart way where you are not turning your back. Keep your hands open and keep saying ‘I don’t want any trouble. I didn’t start this. I don’t want a problem.’ And that lets everybody know who’s the aggressor, as well,” says Mac.

“I think the content is very important because you see these things and you think that happens somewhere else. And I’ve said it to myself many times, however, that’s not the case. This happens everywhere,” says Aditya.

He hopes by sharing his story it will promote more understanding and compassion.