San Francisco Beefs Up Police Patrols In Response to Recent Attacks
San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix
April 29, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco police will soon deploy 32 officers to foot-beat patrols around transit stops in the Bayview and Visitacion Valley in the aftermath of attacks near Muni lines that have victimized Asian Americans, the police chief said Wednesday.
Chief George Gascón said the added officers will be deployed starting this week and remain in the area for at least a month. They will walk beats to help reassure Asian American residents in the wake of two attacks, one fatal, along Muni’s T-Third Metro line, and an assault on a Muni driver, he said.
“They will be in high-visibility patrol to reassure the community in that area that it is a safe place to come, (and) it’s a safe place, certainly, to use our municipal busing systems,” Gascón said.
“It’s really unfortunate that we have had some incidents that have led to a great deal of concern, especially in the Chinese American community, and we want to reassure that community, as well as every other community in the city, that the Police Department is there to support them,” Gascón said.
On Jan. 24, five young men attacked 83-year-old Huan Chen at the T-Third stop at Third Street and Oakdale Avenue. Chen died two months later at a hospital.
In March, a 57-year-old Asian American woman was thrown to the ground from a Muni platform in the same area. She was injured but is recovering. Several youths were seen on surveillance video, and a 15-year-old was later arrested and charged with robbery.
On April 17, an Asian American man driving a 9-San Bruno Muni bus was punched and kicked by as many as five youths after he confronted them vandalizing the coach at Somerset Street and San Bruno Avenue.
The driver was hospitalized. Three juveniles were arrested and charged with assault, and two others were cited and released.
The attacks have prompted concerns among Asian Americans that they are being targeted for racial reasons. The suspects in the first two attacks were black, as are two men charged with murder in Oakland in the fatal beating earlier this month of a 59-year-old Asian American man.
Four of the five suspects in the attack this month on the bus driver are Latino, and the fifth is black.
Gascón downplayed race in general as a factor in Bayview crime, saying African Americans and Latinos are victimized more frequently in the neighborhood than Asian Americans.
“Having said that, I think it’s important to validate the concerns” in the Asian community, Gascón said. “We know there is also a history here that has raised a lot of concerns for people in the Chinese American community. We want them to know we are taking this seriously.”
Gascón said the added officers will be on foot patrol in the afternoon and evening hours, the period during which the attacks along the T-Third line and on San Bruno Avenue happened.
The chief said the department has no leads in the attack that led to Chen’s death. He asked for the public’s help in the case, noting that the city is offering a $100,000 reward for tips leading to a conviction.