Michael Vivona: Man Charged With Assaulting Asian Couple, Threatening Sakura Kokumai

michael vivona sakura kokumai

Orange Police Department/Getty Michael Vivona/Sakura Kokumai

Michael Vivona is a California man who was arrested after police said he assaulted an elderly Asian couple in Orange, near Los Angeles, and threatened an Asian-American Olympian, Sakura Kokumai.

Vivona, 25, of Corona, was charged with a hate crime after the Orange Police Department said he punched a 79-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman, both Korean-American, who were out for a walk on Sunday, April 18, 2021. He is also accused of threatening and accosting U.S. Olympian and karate athlete, Japanese-American Sakura Kokumai April 1, 2021. Both incidents happened at Grijalva Park in Orange, according to CBS Local.

Kokumai shared a portion of the incident on Instagram, posting a video of the man police identified as Vivona shouting at her and walking toward her aggressively. She called on people to take care of one another.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Orange Police Department Said Vivona Confessed to the Crime & Admitted to Having Racial Biases

Vivona confessed to assaulting the Korean-American couple and said that he has “hate” toward the Asian community, Orange Police told CBS Local.

“We believe that this attack was racially motivated based on our investigation and our interview that happened afterwards,” Orange Police Department Sgt. Phil McMullin said. “He specifically said that he had a hate towards the Asian community.”

His charges include elder abuse and committing a hate crime, police said. He is held on $65,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, April 21, 2021, according to CBS Local.

“On 4/18/21 officers arrested 25-year-old Michael Vivona from Corona for assaulting an elderly Korean American couple. He was arrested for elder abuse & committing a hate crime. He was also arrested for threatening a Japanese American on 4/1/21. Vivona was booked at OCJ,” Orange Police wrote on Twitter.

Kokumai Shared a Video of the Incident on Social Media & Said She Was Hurt That No One in the Park Stood Up For Her

Kokumai shared video of the incident on Instagram the day after the incident, and wrote about what happened.

“You stay away from me!” the man shouts on the video. “Don’t be looking at me behind my back!”

In another clip, Kokumai laughs nervously as the man stands behind her. He says he is six feet away, and she tells him she hasn’t done anything.

“You’re scared! Do something! I’m not f****** scared of you!” he shouts.

He calls her “little” and a “stupid b****,” then continues, “I’ll f*** you up. I’ll f*** your husband up or your boyfriend up or whoever you’re talking to on the phone.”

She says again that she hasn’t done anything to him.

Kokumai wrote in the post that she was still processing what happened. She said the most disturbing part of the altercation for her was that no one stepped in to intervene.

She wrote:

Couldn’t stop thinking about what happened yesterday. Still processing… Usually I like to keep my social media positive, but I realized that these issues needs to be addressed so we can protect each other.

Yes what happened was horrible, but I don’t know which was worse, a stranger yelling and threatening to hurt me for no reason or people around me who witnessed everything and not doing a thing.

In that moment, I thought, “gosh, this guy is just crazy.” But when I zoomed out I realized there were a lot of people at the park. Yes, a women did come up and asked if I was ok towards the end as it escalated… but for the longest time no one cared. People would walk by, some even smiled. And I didn’t know what to do.

This could have happened to anyone, if it wasn’t me, someone could’ve gotten hurt.

We need to take care of each other. Why is it so hard to treat people with respect… yes, everyone is fighting inner battles but have RESPECT. REACH OUT. BE KIND. ITS NOT THAT HARD.
I was angry, frustrated, confused, scared, but I was also heartbroken to see and experience how people could be so cold… Please take care of each other. Please look out for one another.

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