SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The San Francisco District Attorney's Office on Thursday refuted a number of claims made in a lawsuit filed against the DA's Office earlier this week by the victim in a 2019 Chinatown attack.
The release issued by the office of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin questioned a number of elements presented by victim Anh Lê and the lawyers representing him in the suit that was filed in federal court against the DA's office.
The 69-year-old Lê said during a Tuesday news conference about the lawsuit that he was beaten with a baseball bat by a father-son duo while walking in Chinatown in November 2019.
"It was the most brutal, terrifying and humiliating experience of my life," said Ahn Lê of San Francisco.
The release issued Thursday noted that Le's Nov. 2, 2019 confrontation with Tanner, who uses a wheelchair, was "over Mr. Tanner's 11 year-old son pushing a bicycle on the sidewalk. Mr. Lê confronted Mr. Tanner and his family about taking up the sidewalk."
The DA's office said that Tanner's young son allegedly swung a plastic bat at Le several times. Additionally, the DA's office said Tanner intervened and made verbal threats against Le while holding a Snapple bottle, however the release noted that "photographs taken by police at the scene do not depict any physical injuries to Mr. Lê."
Tanner was arrested by SFPD officers and charged with making criminal threats against Le, elder abuse and battery, but police did not arrest him on any hate crime charges.
Interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus filed charges against Tanner in connection with the incident four days later without any hate crime charges.
On April 12, 2021, the case was resolved in court with a plea deal to a battery charge, which included probation and a stayaway order. The release stated that Lê "was not present at that court date despite repeated contact from our office."
In the lawsuit, Lê said his rights as a victim were ignored and that he wasn't informed that Tanner was given the option to plead guilty to a misdemeanor.
Prosecutors shared in court that Le was calling for Tanner to be sentenced to state prison and wanted his child to be prosecuted. In the release, the DA's Office victim advocate who had been assigned to the case when charges were filed in 2019 said she had some contact with Lê, but also had difficulty connecting with him, attempting to contact Lê by phone, email, and mail over two dozen times.
"In his lawsuit, Mr. Lê falsely asserted that our office settled the case without consulting him or receiving any input from him. This is not accurate," the release from the DA's office stated. "Mr. Lê and the advocate communicated many times, but for a period of weeks, Mr. Lê did not respond to repeated messages from the advocate. The advocate also specifically reached out to Mr. Le before the case resolved and indicated that the case might resolve and that the assigned prosecutor wanted to discuss the potential resolution with him. Mr. Lê did not respond to repeated efforts to reach him about the potential resolution. Nonetheless, following the case resolution, the advocate again reached out to Mr. Le to inform him of the resolution and express a desire to talk to him about it."
"Given the lawsuit's significant mischaracterizations of the events in this case -- which have understandably led many community members to be upset and undermines the trust between crime victims and their advocates -- we believe it is important to share correct information about the underlying case and explain the work of our office and our victim advocate in this case," Chief of Victim Services Division Kasie Lee said in the release. "We also want to provide reassurance to victims that they will receive comprehensive services when working with our advocates. We will continue to do everything we can to support victims."
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