SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Police in San Francisco on Wednesday announced that investigators have identified the man who was threatened and attacked over the weekend as he was robbed of recycling he had collected in Bayview-Hunters Point.
Police said the identity of the victim was learned with the help of community members. KPIX 5 has decided not to reveal his name.
The victim a man in his 70s originally from Kaiping in the Guangdong province of China, according to Tommy Wong of the Community Youth Center of San Francisco (CYCSF). The CYCSF is representing the victim and helping him navigate the process of reporting the crime to SFPD and offering him other assistance, Wong told KPIX.
The man has lived in San Francisco for six years and supports himself by collecting cans, Wong said. The victim’s wife works in home health care. The victim said the assault caught on video happened last week and that he was indeed hit in the head with a stick and robbed of his cans. He talked to SFPD investigators on Wednesday.
Wong says the victim wanted to make it clear that they were several friendly people in that neighborhood, some of whom actually gave him their cans. It was only a few people who surrounded him and roughed him.
He is nonplussed by the experience. Wong says he found the victim Wednesday morning when the gentleman was back at it, out on the streets of Bayview-Hunters Point collecting cans.
So far, the victim has refused any help. Wong says the old man is proud and does not want donations. Although he may be eligible for state or federal aid, he says the victim refused to fill out any paperwork for any government benefits.
Others KPIX 5 spoke with about the attack and robbery expressed sympathy for the victim.
“I think all of us, myself included, were really heartbroken first — and feeling really hurt and saddened that somebody who was really struggling to make ends meet and trying to do what he can to move his life forward was hurt in such a way,” said Lai Wa Wu from the Chinese Progressive Association.
“I think there’s a lot of economic insecurity in San Francisco. And when people are feeling it — and when that happens, people do really ridiculous things – things that no one finds acceptable and no one wants to happen in their community or neighborhood,” said Kevin Boggess from Coleman Advocacy.
Following the discovery of a viral video that showed an elderly man in San Francisco being attacked and robbed of recycling material he had gathered, on Wednesday a second video surfaced on social media showing uniformed security officers who seemingly allowed the robbery to happen.
In the new video, guards from a security company called Critical Intervention Patrol can be seen interacting with the victim, though it is not clear what they said or did.
The original video taken in the city’s Hunters Point District showed an tearful older Asian man being taunted, chased and threatened by at least two African-American men who appear to have taken his cart laden with bags full of aluminum cans.
The police department responded to claims on the new video that it was SFPD officers who allowed the theft to happen, pointing out the images show private security guards and not police officers.
“The individuals in uniform are not San Francisco Police officers and have been identified as private security officers,” said the department in a statement. “SFPD investigators are aware of the video and are in contact with representatives of the security company that patrols Housing Authority properties in the area.”
CEO for Napa-based company Critical Intervention Patrol Daniel Francom told KPIX 5 in a statement that his company is also looking into the incident.
“Our investigations unit is currently investigating this matter. While this investigation is underway, it would be premature and unfair to make any statements at this time,” Francom said in the statement.
The confrontation between the elderly man and the person taking his cart of recycled material happened in front of onlookers outside a housing project on Osceola Lane, with one onlooker yelling “I hate Asians!” and mocking the victim over the loss of his cans.
On Tuesday, San Francisco supervisors unanimously voted to require the city’s Police Department to regularly report data on victims of hate crimes, among other crimes.
Supervisor Gordon Mar initially called for the data back in July 2019, amid what he said were growing incidents in hate motivated crimes, particularly property crimes targeting Chinese residents and businesses.
Joe Vazquez and Andria Borba contributed to this story.