Attacks on Asian Americans increasing in San Francisco

Community and San Francisco leaders came together Thursday to denounce a number of recent attacks targeting victims of Asian ancestry.

City leaders say the number and frequency of attacks targeting Asian Americans is increasing and they say it's enabled by racially charged statements from the Trump administration.

San Francisco's Tenderloin District is a diverse neighborhood that has long struggled with homelessness, drug use and crime.

Now community leaders are saying the area is facing a new challenge; racially motivated violence, with a number of elderly Asian American victims the targets of unprovoked physical attacks.

"I am upset and appalled at the recent incident of an attack on a Vietnamese elder two weeks ago," said Judy Young from the Southeast Asian Community Development Center. "This should not happen."

Police say that was one of two victims, one 71-years-old, the other 78. The son of one of the victims posting photos of his mother's bruised face on Instagram.

Investigators have arrested 34-year-old Michael Turner for the assaults, probation violation and firearms charges.

"Just yesterday one of my [assistant district attorneys] convinced a judge to detain that man in jail pending trial and we will not release him until we are confident he can safely be released," said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.    

City leaders and community stakeholders are now coming together saying these types of crimes are happening too frequently, and they're calling on police, prosecutors and community leaders to all pull together to stop the violence.

Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the Tenderloin, says racially charged rhetoric from the Whitehouse has helped fuel aniti-Asian Pacific Islander bias and ultimately anti-Asian Pacific Islander attacks.

"There's been that type of hatred that has come from people at the top of this country, national leadership  which has sent a message of hatred that has been felt by API members of our community," said Supervisor Haney.

Community leaders and the elected officials are calling for increased accountability, transparency and outreach in culturally appropriate ways by law enforcement and prosecutors to address racially motivated attacks.