Workers said a man walked into the Asian Market at Eastway Drive and The Plaza Monday afternoon and threatened them. One employee said his co-workers are scared to return and now are looking for other jobs.
Some employees said they are worried about retaliation and that this case could hurt nearby businesses.
A worker caught the incident on video. The outburst was filled with profanities and racial remarks.
Police arrested Robert Cooke on Monday. He is accused of threatening to assault an employee because of the employee’s race.
Surveillance video showed Cooke attempting to steal razors and Q-tips but employees blocked him from leaving, according to an arrest report.
“You know, this is a misdemeanor and when I get out in a couple of hours. I am going to come back and kill you Asians and break these windows,” Cooke could be heard saying in the video.
Cook also said the people in the store should go back to their country, according to the arrest report.
Police were called to the store and found the items on Cooke. He was then arrested.
“It is better for us to have a more general understanding that we should help each other out instead of, ‘Go back to your home country,’” said customer and China-native Yixyan Wang. “I feel a little bit frustrated. We have been through a lot. A long time of stuff like fighting against the racism.”
Cooke is in the Mecklenburg County Jail charged with ethnic intimidation and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
(Watch the video below: Charlotte partners with nonprofit to combat anti-Asian hate crimes)