SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Following the arrest of a man this week in connection with two separate unprovoked attacks on elderly Asian women in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, city leaders on Thursday denounced the attacks.
On Monday, officers arrested 34-year-old Michael Turner of San Francisco on suspicion of elder abuse, aggravated assault and battery in connection with a Sept. 15 attack on a 78-year-old woman in the 100 block of Turk Street, as well as a Sept. 22 attack on a 71-year-old woman in the first block of Jones Street.
In the first attack, the victim suffered a broken hip and, in the second one, the victim lost consciousness and also suffered facial injuries, according to police.
Supervisor Matt Haney, whose district includes the Tenderloin, joined district attorney Chesa Boudin, supervisor Aaron Peskin and members of the city’s Asian American Pacific Islander community to show support for the victims.
“It is absolutely devastating to see this type of violence happening against our AAPI elders,” Haney said in a statement. “I’ve met with the family members affected by this senseless act of violence and I am committed to making sure that they feel supported throughout this process. I’m calling on our city leaders to prioritize the safety of our seniors and to follow the demands of the community in calling for accountability and solutions centered on culturally competent services directed at helping the AAPI community.”
According to Haney’s office, attacks on AAPI seniors are not isolated.
The AAPI Stop Hate Council revealed that between March and July 2020, some 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment, sometimes involving physical assault, related to COVID-19 occurred throughout the state.
“I am outraged by the recent acts of violence that vulnerable members of our AAPI community have suffered,” Boudin said. “I condemn any acts of hate against the AAPI community, many of which are a direct result of our president’s racist, hateful, and xenophobic rhetoric.”
Peskin said, “We must continue to focus on community-based victim support services, which is why we included almost $1 million in targeted funding in this past budget cycle to create grassroots AAPI victim services. Attacks like these cause long-lasting and irreparable damage and we should be thinking about how to support victims and their families beyond the immediate aftermath of an attack.”
Turner is facing multiple felonies in connection with his alleged attacks and remains in custody without bail, according to jail records.
“I’ve lived here for 40 years,” said Judy Young with the Southeast Asian Development Center in San Francisco. “I’ve never seen these types of random attacks on people walking on the street. It’s upsetting. It’s appalling. It’s scary!”
“I’m 91 years old so my son always tells me “Ma, when you walk around in the Tenderloin area, you have to look around,” said Connie May who lives in the neighborhood.
San Francisco supervisors Aaron Peskin and Matt Haney have promised more resources for crime prevention and victim services.
“If you want to commit one of these assaults in San Francisco, Carl Fabrie and his officers are going to apprehend you, this district attorney is going to charge you and the courts down the street are going to make sure that justice is served,” supervisor Aaron Peskin declared.
“The police made an arrest on the man we believe committed those assaults,” said San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin. “We’ve asked the court to detain him and that motion was granted. He will be held in jail pending trial and we will not release him until we are confident it is safe to do so.”
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