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Woman sued over racist tirade against Indian-Americans outside Plano restaurant

“Life has changed since then,” said an Indian-American woman who was targeted and threatened in Plano last month.

The woman who was arrested after going on a racist rant and allegedly threatening to kill a group of Indian-American women outside a Plano restaurant last month has been sued by one of the victims, who said the incident left her constantly fearing for her safety.

The lawsuit against Esmeralda Upton was filed on behalf of Dr. Bidisha Rudra in Collin County last week. It comes about a month after Upton was caught on video harassing Rudra and three of her friends, all of whom are Indian-American, outside of Sixty Vines off Dallas Parkway.

News of the lawsuit was first reported by the Dallas Observer.

According to the petition, Upton approached Rudra and her friends after they exchanged farewells in Bengali in the restaurant’s parking lot.

Video posted on social media showed Upton telling the group, “I hate you f------ Indians.” Upton is then shown telling the group they should go back to their country while also mentioning she’s Mexican-American. According to the lawsuit, she referred to the women as “you curry-ass bitches.”

Each of the four women is an American citizen.

Attempts to reach Upton on Thursday were unsuccessful; two phone numbers listed under her name were disconnected, and she did not respond to messages sent to two email accounts under her name. It’s unclear whether she has retained a lawyer who could comment on her behalf.

The incident quickly escalated and turned physical. Upton was shown on video allegedly striking one woman who was recording the encounter. She then reached into her purse while saying she was going to “blow your f------ brains out.”

Plano police officers eventually arrived and separated Upton from the group. Police allowed Upton to leave that night, but arrested her the next day on charges of assault and issuing terroristic threats. According to an arrest report obtained by WFAA, Upton continued her racist tirade in front of the police officers and mentioned she had a firearm in her car.

In a statement shortly after Upton’s arrest, Plano police said they were investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Rudra was born in India and obtained her Ph.D in the United States, where she has lived for more than 20 years. North Texas has one of the largest Indian-American diasporas in the country.

In an interview with The News on Thursday, Rudra described the incident as traumatic. According to the petition, she’s lived with post-traumatic stress and high blood pressure and constantly fears another attack.

“This was so blatant, in our face, in a neighborhood where I belong — a neighborhood where I feel secure, loved by my neighbors. So this was pretty traumatic to experience this right in my backyard,” Rudra said.

“Life has changed since then,” she added. “I can’t let my guard down.”

Veronica S. Moyé, a lawyer for Rudra, said “serious consequences” were needed against Upton — especially considering the alleged physical violence and threats to shoot the women.

“We think there has to be serious, serious consequences for Ms. Upton to send a message that this kind of behavior will be dealt with in the strongest possible way,” Moyé said. “An apology would be nice, but certainly would not remedy all of the harm that these women had suffered.”

Hate crimes against Americans of Asian descent have grown rapidly over the last few years. About one-third of Asian Americans have said they have changed their routines due to threats of violence.

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