Chandra Law Logo

Victim of unprovoked, racist attack in Plano, TX sues assailant Esmeralda Upton

Monday, November 14, 2022

Victim of unprovoked, racist attack in Plano, TX sues assailant Esmeralda Upton
Esmeralda Upton's arrest mugshot

Plano, TX – Today, Ms. Anamika (pronounced: uh-NAHM-ih-ka) Chatterjee of Allen, Texas filed a civil lawsuit against Esmeralda Upton of Plano, Texas for Upton’s unprovoked, racist attack on Ms. Chatterjee and her friends, captured on video, in a Plano-restaurant parking lot.

When four Indian-American women walked back to their cars after a pleasant dinner at a Plano, restaurant on August 24, 2022, they never imagined that they would be such an attack, from which they are still recovering.

According to the civil petition, as the four friends walked through the parking lot, they were accosted by a stranger, who started screaming, “I hate you fucking Indians,” physically hit at least two of the women including Ms. Chatterjee, and then threatened to shoot them.

The harrowing aggression, captured on cellphone video, went viral, garnering widespread outrage in the north Texas region where it occurred and throughout the world.

Now, one of the victims, Anamika Chatterjee, has filed a lawsuit against Plano resident Esmeralda Upton, seeking damages for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation.

“I hate you fucking Indians”

According to the lawsuit, here’s what happened:

The horrific ordeal began on the evening of August 24, as Ms. Chatterjee and her three friends were saying goodnight to each other outside the Vines restaurant in Plano.

Hearing the women speaking in Bengali, Upton, completely unknown to all of them, started shouting at Ms. Chatterjee and her companions.

“I hate you fucking Indians,” she screamed, “We don’t want you here!”

She called the friends “curry-ass bitches.”

Ms. Chatterjee and the other women asked Upton to leave them alone, and they tried not to engage her. As Upton seemed to be walking away, she yelled, “Go back to India!” and “If things are so great in your country, then stay there!”

Ms. Chatterjee and her three friends are all American citizens.

A desperate 9-1-1 call

But Upton wasn’t done yet, the suit alleges. She turned around, and added, threateningly: “Don’t fuck with me!” This, even though all the women had asked of her was to stop yelling at them and to go away.

Sensing a greater danger from Upton, Ms. Chatterjee called 9-1-1. When Upton saw that, she started hitting Chatterjee’s friend, not once, but multiple times, as her friend shouted in shock, “Oh, my God! She’s hitting me!”

As Chatterjee was connected to a police dispatcher, Upton took out her phone and said she, too, would call the police. When she heard Chatterjee describe her to the authorities as white, Upton declared that she was Mexican and that she “paid my fucking way here” as she body-checked and struck Ms. Chatterjee, trying to dislodge the phone on which she was speaking to the dispatcher.

Fearing for her safety, Ms. Chatterjee moved away from her assailant, and told the dispatcher that Upton had just physically assaulted her and that she was scared. As she begged the operator to send police as quickly as possible, she stayed on the phone, out of alarm at what Upton might do.

Upton admits she “overstepped her bounds”

Upton continued her anti-Asian rant—“Everywhere I fucking go, you Indians are fucking everywhere!” she said—but then started to “apologize” as well. “I’m trying to be civil,” Upton said, but added, “If life was so great in India, why the fuck are y’all here?! Why are y’all here?!”

Ms. Chatterjee and her friends were desperately trying not to engage with the deranged Upton.

“Aware that she was still being recorded,” according to Chatterjee’s petition to the court, “Upton then admitted that she had ‘overstepped her bounds,’ disingenuously said, ‘peace,’ and attempted to shake hands with the very women she had just physically assaulted. When one woman cautiously and fearfully backed away from Upton’s sudden approach, Upton said, ‘OK, well, fuck you!’”

“I swear to God; I will fucking shoot your ass”

The petition continues: "Ms. Chatterjee did not trust Upton's hostile behavior and believed the false apology to be a means for Upton to get physically closer to each lady as a pretext for more serious blows."

Upton’s behavior then became even more menacing and frightening, as she repeatedly told Ms. Chatterjee’s friend to turn off her “fucking” camera.

Reaching into her handbag as if to grab a gun, Upton threatened, “Turn that fucking phone off or I swear to God I will fucking shoot your ass.”

“Just like the Black people”

Moments later, the police arrived, and, according to a police report, Upton told them—though no one asked—that she “lives in a $1.5 million house.” She then admitted that she had hit Ms. Chatterjee and her friends, but claimed they were “videoing and saying all of this shit that I wasn’t doing,” adding, “That’s what they do. Just like the Black people.”

Ms. Chatterjee and her friends gave written statements and their cellphone videos to the police, who did not arrest Upton that evening. Instead, after Upton refused to take a breathalyzer test, police allowed a third party to drive her home.

Ms. Chatterjee was terrified that Upton would seek her out and try to harm her and even called her local police department requesting that they add police patrols to her neighborhood.

Upton charged with assault and “terroristic threats”

It was not until the next day that police showed up at Upton’s home and arrested her. She was charged with assault and making “terroristic threats.”

Still traumatized, Ms. Chatterjee called the FBI several days later to report the attack as a hate crime. Her lawyers believe that the FBI is completing an investigation.

Months later, the shock from the attack still haunts Ms. Chatterjee.

She “continues to fear that an unhinged member of the public inspired by Upton’s racism will find her and harm her,” according to her lawsuit, and she is “fearful for her safety and the safety of her friends and family and does not like to leave the house alone or even be left alone at home. Upton’s outrageous actions have caused Ms. Chatterjee to suffer extreme anxiety, sleeplessness, humiliation, embarrassment, and terror.”

Ms. Chatterjee’s lead counsel, Subodh Chandra, said, “All Americans and human being regardless of their national origin are entitled to a life free from racist rants and violence. Ms. Chatterjee and we intend to hold Esmerelda Upton accountable so that others dare not behave in the repugnant, contemptible way she did.”

The case is captioned Chatterjee v. Upton, Collin County 129th Judicial District, Texas, Case No. 219-06217-2022. [UPDATE Feb. 2023: the case has been transferred to Dallas County 162nd Judicial District, Case no. DC-23-02391.]

Ms. Chatterjee is represented by Subodh Chandra and Donald P. Screen of The Chandra Law Firm in Cleveland, with local Dallas counsel Bryan A. Garner and Karolyn H.C. Garner of Garner & Garner.

Related Practice Areas
Religious DiscriminationRace DiscriminationCrime Victims: Civil Action for Damages for Criminal Acts Under Ohio Revised Code § 2307.60Public-Accommodations Discrimination

Making the right choice in legal representation can make the difference in whether you achieve a result that protects your legal rights and best interests.

Tell Us About Your Case