By Shereen Siewert

One person is facing criminal charges with a hate crime enhancer after allegedly harassing a group of grocery store patrons based on their race, according to the Stevens Point Police Department.

In a social media post, department representatives said the patrons were harassed for wearing masks and called names because of their race.

One person, a white male, was arrested. Police have not released the suspect’s name, and it is not clear if he is an adult or a juvenile.

“As a result of this call, the Police Department learned that members of our Hmong and Asian community have witnessed an increase of harassment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the SPPD post reads. “Our community will not tolerate disparaging behavior and harassment.”

The Stevens Point Police Department strongly encourages anyone who may have experienced this type of criminal behavior to contact their local police department immediately to report the incident.