SAN FRANCISCO - Officials from San Francisco's District Attorney Chesa Boudin's office visited with the victim of a pepper-spray attack in Chinatown over the weekend. Protesters were there saying they think the D.A.'s policies are creating a more dangerous city for their community.
There was a crowd at the shop, who thought the district attorney himself would make an appearance and talk with the shop keeper who was attacked over the weekend. The D.A. was a no show, but those protesters still delivered their message for Boudin.
Fanly Chen from GoApple says a young man shoplifted, then after being forced to return the merchandise, returned and pepper sprayed her in the face. Police arrested a 16-year-old suspect Tuesday, and the shopkeeper met with members of the district attorney's office to discuss the assault. A hearing in the case is set for Friday.
Chen said their meeting was about the hearing and could not share any further details beforehand.
Nancy Yu, from the Chinatown Merchants United Group, says for too long, criminals have thought they could get away with targeting Chinatown.
"We want to unify the community, we want to be inclusive," said Yu. "We are not talking about race, but we know this anti-Asian is going on, but we do feel that pressure here."
Prosecutors and investigators from the district attorney's office said they worked with the juvenile division, and couldn't comment beyond that. One of the members from that entourage told reporters she could not speak about the case and that their investigators were there to interview the victim.
Across the street, protesters gathered saying they had expected D.A. Boudin himself to show up and talk with the victim in this case. "I am shocked, I am shocked," said Leanna Louie from San Francisco. "He should be here to address this himself."
Those protesters said they believe the D.A.'s policies have contributed to recent attacks on the AAPI community. "I think the most important one is his catch and release policy," said Louie. "It is soft on crime, it allows the criminals to come out and commit more and more crimes."
The District Attorney's office responded by saying in part, "District Attorney Boudin is outraged by the surge in violence against the AAPI community, and is dedicated to both preventing these incidents and holding those who commit these acts accountable."