SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – As authorities report skyrocketing hate crimes against Asian Americans in San Francisco, one victim has sued District Attorney Chesa Boudin and the city, claiming more needs to be done to stop the attacks.
"It was the most brutal, terrifying and humiliating experience of my life," said Ahn Lê of San Francisco.
The 69-year-old said he was beaten with a baseball bat by a father-son duo while walking in Chinatown in November 2019.
Lê is now suing the District Attorney's office and the city, alleging his rights as a victim were ignored, saying the defendant was given the option to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, without being informed.
"I was cast aside, ignored and re-victimized by the institutions that were supposed to protect me," said Lê.
The lawsuit comes on the same day as San Francisco Police released new preliminary hate crime statistics for 2021 as the city tries to address violent racially motivated incidents on the streets.
SFPD said reported hate crimes against Asians catapulted from nine victims in 2020, to 60 last year, marking a 567% increase.
"When a crime is committed and lines are crossed we will do everything we can to make those arrests to hold perpetrators accountable," said Mayor London Breed.
Videos of random attacks against Asians proliferated during the pandemic. KPIX 5 obtained video last summer of a person riding a scooter, shattering windows and burglarizing Chinese-owned businesses in the Ingleside neighborhood.
Police arrested 36-year-old Derik Barretto in August. Authorities said he is responsible for more than half of the city's hate crime incidents in 2020.
"I want to keep this department focused on our job. If we do that well then the rest of the parts of the system have a better chance of better outcomes that we want to see in terms of people being held accountable," said Police Chief Bill Scott.
City officials said increased police presence, easier ways to report crimes in more languages, and community escort services have helped, especially the elderly in places like Chinatown.
"This is not an AAPI community problem. This is America's problem, so we ask the city to continue to help us combat this type of violence," said API Legal Outreach's Dean Ito-Taylor.
KPIX 5 asked the District Attorney's office about the lawsuit. Spokesperson Rachel Marshall said, "DA Boudin has consistently sought additional funding to support victims. We will not stop fighting to ensure that every victim's needs are met."
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