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SF police arrest man in beating assault of 70-year-old Asian community leader

Police arrest suspect in assault of Asian S.F. community leader
Police arrest suspect in assault of Asian S.F. community leader 02:19

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco police arrested a man they believe attacked former city film, arts and immigrant rights commissioner Gregory Chew, who was assaulted the evening of Aug. 2 near 3rd and Folsom streets.

RELATED: Demonstrators demand action to combat Asian hate in San Francisco

Police arrested 34-year-old Derrick Yearby of San Francisco Sunday morning near the corner of 8th and Market streets.

"Yearby was booked at San Francisco County Jail on charges of battery with great bodily injury, elder abuse, aggravated assault and also an assault enhancement charge," said SFPD public information officer Kathryn Winters. 

Gregory Chew
Gregory Chew Gregory Chew special to KPIX

Chew, 70, a leader in the city's Asian American and Pacific Islander community, was struck and knocked to the ground. He was treated at a nearby hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say the two men didn't speak before Chew was attacked, just after 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2 in San Francisco's SoMa neighborhood.

"Investigators will be attempting to interview the suspect and see if they can determine whether or not race or bias was a factor in the attack," Winters added. 

Among local and state leaders attending a Sunday rally against anti-Asian violence in Washington Square Park, was District 6 supervisor Matt Dorsey. Chew lives in his district.

"He's going through a lot but I really appreciate his courage coming forward," Dorsey said. "It highlights what we're up against and what we have to work on and I think it's equally important -- if not more important -- to highlight when we make an arrest we have to send a message to would-be attackers who contemplate coming to our city to do this, to attack Asian seniors, that they are going to be identified and arrested and prosecuted."

Dorsey pointed out that San Francisco police reported a 567 percent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021.

In a text to KPIX, Chew stated that he's somewhat relieved to hear of the arrest.

"But so many others have been assaulted and robbed. City leaders got to step up," he wrote in part.

Anyone with information about the case can call the SFPD tip line at (415) 575-4445.

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