SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco police released photos Thursday of a suspect in an assault that occurred on Mason Street.
Video of the assault is getting a lot of attention, after the CEO of a startup posted it on Twitter, with a plea for more police presence.
The business owner says he is worried about his own employees, after moving his company from the Financial District to Mid-Market six months ago.
"I think you're just rolling the dice every time you walk outside," Geoffrey Woo told KTVU on Wednesday, in the offices of HVMN, which develops supplements for peak physical performance.
Request for help @sfgov @SFPD @LondonBreed. My coworker took this video this morning outside our 38 Mason St office. I’m a small business owner, and it’s dangerous & unsafe for my employees to be walking in a war zone. Days with police presence are much better. We need more. pic.twitter.com/zwWdO2d4Ub— Geoffrey Woo 🇺🇸 (@geoffreywoo) December 19, 2018
Woo's staff of 10 have grown accustomed to the street crime, drugs, and poverty they see on their block of Mason Street. But witnessing one man stomping another on the face was a new low.
About 10 seconds of video, showing the assault, was captured by a HVMN employee returning from lunch Tuesday at mid-day. In the video, an off-camera witness can be heard objecting, but the assailant defends his actions, declaring "you don't know what this man did."
Witnesses said a racial slur may have preceded the man being knocked to the ground and kicked, as he lay motionless.
"We're supposed to have an expectation that this is normal," said Woo. "But this is not acceptable, by any normal definition of what's acceptable in a neighborhood, it's not safe."
Woo tweeted the video, tagging San Francisco police and Mayor London Breed.
In his tweet he asked for help, posting, "it's dangerous and unsafe for my employees to be walking in a war zone."
Officers from Tenderloin Station do patrol the area, but Wood says they are not present often enough, and that chaos rules in Mid-Market.
"Where we know there are folks in open-air drug deals, folks shooting heroin," elaborated Woo, "and they are the same folks we walk by every morning, the same characters."
The staffer who shot the video does not want to be identified, but everyone the company has seen it.
"The video is shocking," said research team lead Brianna Stubbs, " and no one on our team was hurt, but obviously that guy was hurt, and how many more people need to get hurt, before action is taken?"
Stubbs, like her colleagues, doesn't linger in the area after hours.
"I get on my bike, get on Market and shoot up Market, I do not walk," she explained.
Stubbs finds the suffering on the streets sad, and notes some tech companies are abandoning the neighborhood, most recently Spotify.
"Maybe if more companies stayed here, there would be more pressure to improve," Stubbs noted.
Geoffrey Woo pays a five figure rent, and likes the square footage and amenities of his suite, except for the activities outside.
He hopes being vocal may help unify other business owners, and bring change.
"We're in this neighborhood, with a multi-year lease, so let's actually do something to make our neighborhood better and safer," said Woo.
At the Mikkeller Bar next door, also in view of the kicking incident, a guard working the door said it didn't surprise him.
"A lot of stuff happens around here, daytime, nighttime," said Rey Michel Olivier, "and I probably see about three fights a week," acknowledging many explosive arguments on the streets, some escalating to violence.
Police did come to HVMN and take a report from the witness; they confirm the stomping attack is under investigation.
The aggressor walked away from the scene, and in time, the victim, with no medical treatment, got up and walked off as well.