San Francisco police are stepping up patrols following latest assaults towards Asian People
On Wednesday, a man and a woman, both of Asian descent, were attacked in separate attacks by the same suspect in San Francisco, police said.
Separately, three men were arrested in a San Francisco laundromat last month for alleged involvement in an attack and robbery of an Asian American.
Police patrols are being stepped up in coordination with local organizations of the Asian-American and Pacific islanders, the department said on Wednesday.
Violence against Asian Americans has increased across the country and coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic. Several unprovoked attacks against elderly Asian Americans in the Bay Area this year, in part, resulted in Alameda County Prosecutors setting up a special response unit focused on crimes against Asians, especially elderly Asians.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee, from Thailand, died after being abruptly assaulted on a morning walk on Jan. 28. A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and mistreatment of the elderly in the case. In Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood, police said a man forcibly pushed three unsuspecting people and injured a 91-year-old man, a 60-year-old man and a 55-year-old woman, on Jan. 31. A 28-year-old man was charged with three charges of assault for the attacks, according to the prosecution. Elsewhere in California in response to the rise in attacks against people of Asian origin, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and the LA county sheriff’s division is meeting with groups in Asian-American communities this week to raise awareness and encourage citizens to report threats or suspicious activity. The Mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, told the patrols announced on Wednesday: “Nobody should have to live in fear of your race or ethnicity making them a victim.”
Two people attacked San Francisco within minutes
On Wednesday morning in San Francisco, an Asian man and an Asian woman were attacked by the same suspect in separate attacks, police said.
“Investigators are working to determine whether bias was a motivating factor in the incident,” San Francisco police officer Adam Lobsinger said in a statement.
The consequences of the clash were recorded on video by the CNN subsidiary KPIX. The footage shows a crowd of police officers and paramedics gathered around an Asian woman who is holding an ice pack next to her head and face while screaming. A man can be seen on a handcuffed stretcher while being treated by a medic.
“He hit people,” says the woman in the video and speaks Cantonese. “He bullies old people,” she said, “so I gave a punch.”
The woman says to the man “You idiot” and then tells the police: “He bullied me, he bullied me, idiot.”
Both the suspect, a 39-year-old man, and the 75-year-old woman were rushed to hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Lobsinger said, with the suspect being treated for “an unrelated, prior illness”.
Officers were called after an earlier attack on an 83-year-old man, Lobsinger said. A local security guard followed the suspect on foot, Lobsinger said, and while he was on the run, police said he attacked the woman.
The injured woman told KPIX that she was leaning against a power pole when the man hit her without provocation.
The victims and suspects have not been formally identified and the incident is being investigated further.
Video arrests in laundromat attacks
Three young men were arrested Wednesday for robbing and assaulting an elderly Asian man in a surveillance video attack in a San Francisco laundromat last month.
The February 23 attack occurred near Nob Hill and Chinatown. An Asian American had just sat down in the laundromat when three people walked in, threw the man down and forcibly robbed him, a surveillance video from CNN member KGO-TV showed.
The 67-year-old victim, who has not been identified, suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the attack, police said.
The arrested men were identified by police as Calvin Berschell, Jason Orozco and Nolowde Beshears. All three are 19 years old and live in Antioch, California, a suburban community about 45 miles east of San Francisco.
Arrest warrants were served in Antioch early Wednesday morning and all three were taken into custody without incident, according to a release from the SFPD. During the execution of a search warrant, police seized two weapons and evidence related to the robbery.
Court dates and bail have not yet been set. It is unclear whether any of the three men kept lawyers.
Police expect the men to be charged with burglary, elderly abuse and assault. According to spokeswoman Rachel Marshall, no case has been brought to the prosecutor’s office.
CNN’s Eric Levenson, Stephanie Becker, Dan Simon and Jadyn Sham contributed to this report.