Plano woman pleads guilty to hate crime after viral video

A Plano woman who made headlines on social media for shouting racist comments at a group of South Asian women in Plano has been convicted of four hate crimes.

Esmerelda Upton pleaded guilty to four counts of hate crimes in Collin County court. She was also found guilty on three counts of assault and terroristic threatening.

Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis said in a statement obtained by KERA that people in the United States do not have to fear racially motivated attacks like those in Plano.

“America is the only nation on earth defined more by its ideals than by race or ethnicity,” Willis said.

The Collin County District Attorney's Office said Upton was sentenced to two years' probation and 40 days in jail. She will serve the prison term concurrently and must pay four fines totaling $2,000.

Two years ago, a video of Upton went viral. She approached four South Asian women outside the Sixty Vines restaurant in Plano and urged them to return to their country.

“We don't want you here,” Upton said. “If things are going so well in your country, then stay there.”

The altercation was captured on video that went viral on social media. Upton was arrested by police the next day.

Chanda Parbhoo, founder of South Asian American Voter Empowerment Texas, told KERA in a previous interview that anti-Asian hatred is increasing in Collin County, especially in Plano.

“We continue to see racially motivated crimes and the only way we can stop them is to raise public awareness and make sure people don't forget them,” Parhboo said.

Do you have a tip? Email Caroline Love at [email protected].

Caroline Love is a Report for AmericaCorps member for KERA News.

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