Asian American Attacks in San Francisco are Spreading Fear and Discord
By Vincent Ng
In the past 7 months, at least 7 older Asian Americans have been attacked brutally in San Francisco. Two grandmothers were stabbed and a third was punched in the face in broad daylight. An 80 year old man was also fatally shoved to the ground during his morning walk. These types of attacks are becoming more frequent throughout the country and even the city of San Francisco, which has one of the largest Asian American populations and the oldest Chinatown in the country was not spared.
These attacks have shocked and angered many residents in the area. John Hamasak, a member of the San Francisco Police Commissioner who is ethnically Japanese said “It’s a horrible feeling to be afraid in your own community. People are genuinely afraid to go outside, to walk down the street alone.”
One solution that many Chinese residents want is to increase the police force, they believe that this will allow the police to protect more streets therefore decreasing the amount of attacks. In contrast to this, the Asian American city leaders would rather use a different solution that doesn’t involve law enforcement.
City leaders such as Connie Chan and Gordon Mar, the two members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who are of Chinese descent, have been under pressure from Chinese activists to increase police staffing, a move the officials have resisted. Chinese activists also believe that Chesa Boudin, the city’s district attorney, is not being tough enough on crime and they want him to be removed. Some activists have shown up at meetings to challenge officials, including Ms. Chan and Mr. Mar.
Leanna Louie, a former Army intelligence officer who is Chinese American and who last year founded a neighborhood watch group called the United Peace Collaborative said “I haven’t heard of anyone in the Chinese community who doesn’t want more police. We are very dissatisfied with Asian representatives. We are going to work furiously to replace them.”
The mayor’s spokesman, Jeff Cretan, said she had requested the hiring of 200 officers over the next two years, roughly enough to replace officers who are retiring. The city’s Board of Supervisors scaled back the request to 135 officers. Mr. Chan, one of the city's two supervisors of chinese descent argues that money can be spent in better ways than hiring more police officers. Mr. Mar, the other chinese supervisor, agrees and thinks a better solution is to deploy more officers to patrol the streets.