Man faces hate crime charge after early-morning Denny’s incident, Pierce deputies say

A Graham man faces hate crime charges after allegedly chasing a cook around a Parkland restaurant early Tuesday while yelling racial slurs and threatening to kill the man, according to Pierce County prosecutors.

The 41-year-old man faces charges of malicious harassment, fourth-degree assault and resisting arrest. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation and reappear in court next week.

The man is on post-prison supervision and has prior convictions for second-degree assault and third-degree assault.

According to charging documents and sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer:

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Denny’s restaurant at 10802 Pacific Ave. S. just before midnight for three reports of an assault.

A deputy found the Graham man being held by the straps of his denim overalls by another customer. The deputy tried to distract the man to get him to turn around so he could be handcuffed.

“Hey, what’s that?” the deputy asked, pointing out the window behind the man.

Without turning around, the man said, “That’s a ...” using a racial slur.

Deputies tried to arrest the man, who raised a fist and walked toward them. They took him to the ground, but he resisted their attempt to put him in a neck hold. The struggle lasted until one of the deputies kneed the man in the shoulder and handcuffed him.

The first deputy then interviewed the cook, who said the incident started after he went on break and sat in the corner of the restaurant. The Graham man seemed triggered by the cook’s presence, and started using the racial slur repeatedly.

The cook went to go back to the kitchen, and the man yelled out, “You are going down,” and “I am going to kill you,” ending each threat with the same racial slur. The cook told deputies he feared for his life.

A customer came forward to stop the man, but the man punched him in the face three times before he was wrangled by his overall straps.

Two other people in the restaurant corroborated the cook’s story.

A deputy interviewed the good Samaritan, who had sat down to eat his chicken-fried steak breakfast.

He said the man had yelled at the cook for no reason, and that when the cook went to go to the kitchen, the good Samaritan intervened to stave off an imminent attack.