St. Paul police have arrested a 59-year-old man in connection with last month's suspected hate crime against a Metropolitan State University employee and a related incident.
Steven C. Parker, of St. Paul, was charged Friday in Ramsey County District Court with simple robbery and assault stemming from what authorities call back-to-back "racially motivated" incidents June 19.
Parker is accused of stealing from a local Walgreens while yelling profanities, referencing the manager's Mexican heritage, then violently attacking a minority university worker after asking: "What are you doing in my country?"
Police arrested Parker in downtown St. Paul on Thursday morning, shortly after a resident complained about him drinking in public. He was quickly tied to the earlier robbery and identified in a photo lineup by the Metro State assault victim, authorities said.
According to the criminal complaint:
Officers were called to the Walgreens store on Arcade Street around 12:45 p.m. on a report of an assault. The manager told police that as he was walking toward his office, a white man began screaming at him and making derogatory remarks about his heritage. Then Parker, who the manager recognized from a previous shoplifting incident, abruptly walked out of the store with a video game and bottle of detergent, according to charges.
The manager followed Parker outside, where authorities say he charged at the manager, throwing the stolen goods at him. Moments later, surveillance video shows Parker returning to the store with another man, who punched and kicked the manager and stole his cellphone before running away.
Less than an hour later, officers responded to Metro State's St. Paul campus on a report of an assault. The victimtold authorities that he was sitting on the steps outside New Main — a building that houses the president's office and IT services — when a white man approached him from behind.
The man demanded to know where the victim was from and asked why he was in the United States. Then, police say, he struck the employee on the left side of his face, knocking off his glasses. The victim was treated at St. John's Hospital for multiple bone fractures.
The suspect reportedly ran down 7th Street.
Parker remains jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.