SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco's District Attorney’s Office is on the receiving end of a federal lawsuit. The man who filed the lawsuit is a crime victim who says the district attorney is not doing his job.
New details have emerged about the case that happened before District Attorney Chesa Boudin was in office.
Anh Le, the man who filed the suit, says he was the victim of a horrific attack and he says D.A. Boudin let the people who attacked him off with a slap on the wrist.
Le says he was brutally attacked in November 2019. "I am a survivor of a horrendous attack that took place in San Francisco with no consequences to my attackers."
Le says his attacker and his attacker's adolescent son threatened his life, beat him with a baseball bat and terrorized him. The suspects were eventually arrested and faced a host of felony charges. But Le says the district attorney's office failed to pursue hate crime charges, and allowed the charges to be pled down to misdemeanor battery.
"Although he was arrested for felony terroristic threats, felony elder abuse and battery because of the way my case has been handled by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office justice has not been served," said Le.
Now Le has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming the D.A.'s office did not adequately protect Le's rights. His legal team says the aim is to hold D.A. Boudin and his office accountable. "We are bringing this lawsuit, and this is the principal reason, I want to make very clear: on behalf of Mr. Le and other Asian American victims to ensure that the District Attorney's Office does its job," said Quyen Ta from the law firm King & Spalding.
In an email, the district attorney's office said "D.A. Boudin has been a steadfast advocate for improved victim services and support for the AAPI community."
On Thursday the D.A.'s office further elaborated with a lengthy response to the federal lawsuit, which they said contained false claims.
The D.A. offered some key background details from this criminal case including that the attackers were a man in a wheelchair and his 11-year-old son who was carrying a plastic baseball bat. They add that there was an argument over the boy pushing a bicycle on the sidewalk and that Le confronted the man in the wheelchair, Jimmy Tanner and his family about taking up the sidewalk.
The boy is alleged to have swung his plastic bat at Mr. Le and the father made verbal threats. However, the D.A.'s office said police photos of Mr. Le do not show any physical injuries. Tanner was arrested by police for elder abuse, criminal threats and battery.
Also, of note is that this all happened before Boudin was in office and was during interim D.A. Suzy Loftus' tenure. Loftus did not file hate crime charges.
The D.A.'s office also claims Le was non-communicative with their office's victim services division. The lawsuit claims the D.A.'s office settled the case without consulting Le or receiving any input from him. The D.A.'s office said this is false.
"Mr. Le and the advocate communicated many times, but for a period of weeks, Mr. Le did not respond to repeated messages from the advocate," a statement from the D.A.'s office read.
"Given the lawsuit’s significant mischaracterizations of the events in this case—which have understandably led many community members to be upset and undermines the trust between crime victims and their advocates—we believe it is important to share correct information about the underlying case and explain the work of our office and our victim advocate in this case," the D.A.'s statement continued.
It should also be noted that Boudin faces being recalled in an upcoming June special election.
Meanwhile, the district attorney also touted the formation of an AAPI steering committee that met Monday for the first time. The aim of the committee is to address gaps in services for elderly AAPI victims.
Mr. Le, the victim in this case, also has a separate civil lawsuit filed against the man who assaulted him, the next court date for that civil case is set for April.
Le said he filed the suit against Boudin and the D.A.'s office to stand up for all victims of AAPI violence to make sure they see justice.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a more complete response from the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.