Charges filed after elderly woman kicked to ground in San Francisco

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced on Tuesday that a mentally-ill Oakland man has been charged after allegedly attacking an elderly woman in San Francisco. The defendant is the same man convicted of attacking an Oakland Chinatown leader.

Police said James Lee Ramsey, 27, was arrested Friday after allegedly kicking an 88-year-old Asian American woman to the ground. Police said the unprovoked attack took place on Ellis Street, near Market Street. 

A witness detained Ramsey until police arrived, and the victim was transported to a local hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Ramsey allegedly committed battery on the witness as well.

The suspect has been previously convicted of assaulting Carl Chan, the head of Oakland's Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in 2021. Since Ramsey is mentally ill, an Alameda County judge opted not to send him to prison instead ordering him to spend 18 months in county jail and then another 18 under supervision. He had already done his time.

In San Francisco, Ramsey was charged with felony elder abuse, assault, and battery. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

"Our elderly Asian community is in fear every day of walking down the street because of situations like this," said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. "We have to make sure that people understand that there is accountability in this city when a crime like this is committed."

Ramsey has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to his attorneys.

Chan said Tuesday, "I think the entire community, every one of us, we feel so sick about it, and we feel so sorry for the victim and the family."

Cat Brooks is executive director of the Anti Police-Terror project, which supports alternatives to incarceration. The group at one point had set up a Gofundme to help cover their costs of putting Ramsey up in a hotel. She said no one wanted to house Ramsey because of his assault conviction.

"It is proof that the system failed James. He should have been in a long-term, permanent, supportive care facility," Brooks said.

"The first thing, of course, is concern for the elder, right? Like no one is celebrating that. And then is mass frustration because this did not have to happen," she said.

Chan is upset about that Gofundme and says he's not surprised Ramsey's back in custody. 

"When you were able to get support from many people and doing the wrong thing, and when you came out and you're financially rewarded," Chan said.

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and