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This story has been updated to include a statement from the San Francisco Police Department.
A video that has been circulating online since Sunday night has angered the San Francisco community and many are demanding answers.
In the video, an elderly Chinese man is filmed being robbed of his cart of cans as the cameraman cheers on the alleged robber while making racially charged remarks.
please share this with your friends & family. this is so low, the older man was just trying to make ends meet for his family. he didn’t deserve this. this is ignorant, inhumane, & sickening. i’m praying for this man and his family. if you have any information, please reach out. pic.twitter.com/545xHFwPm4
— nikc (@nicholaaasli) February 24, 2020
AsiansNeverDie, who was one of the first social media accounts to post the video online, shared the following information on the incident:
“This is so heartbreaking and hard to watch 💔
This sickening incident occurred on Osceola Lane in San Francisco, CA. This elderly Chinese man was robbed of his cart of cans and the camera man had the audacity to egg on the robber and make racist jokes. Also to see the children watching and learning this type of behavior from their neighbors.
I’ve seen countless elderly Asians collect cans, rummaging through garbage to just make a few bucks to survive. They aren’t bothering anyone but to see how they treat him is disgusting.”
The original poster of the video, @thewoodnigga, has since made its account private on Instagram.
Twitter users chimed in with support for the elderly man, with many asking where they can donate to help:
Dude let me give this man my money I’m being fr. 😔 hate seeing cruelty like this happen. my mom used to collect cans to feed my brother and I when we were homeless so I know how tough it can be.
— yayney. (@janeymaa) February 24, 2020
I will reimburse all of the cans he lost if someone can get me in contact with him please!
— Henry (@Henrytr_987) February 24, 2020
This breaks my heart 😢 …He’s just collecting cans from what other people consider trash to make ends meet, AND is also helping the world by recycling. No humanity shown here.
— Brenda Nguyen (@brendanguyen) February 24, 2020
@TheEllenShow .. please if you can find this man and help him and his family … that would be amazing you do a lot for people who deserve it and this man does and shouldn’t be punished for supporting his family .. him crying breaks my heart .
— Danaa🌺 (@__Danax3) February 24, 2020
Users say that the elderly man usually works with his wife to pick up cans around the area and along the side of the road or freeway around 9-10 a.m.
One user replied:
“The event occurred on Osceola Lane, Bayview District, San Francisco. The elderly Chinese man was collecting cans to recycle (as he does almost everyday). He was robbed of his cart by a group of African Americans, who also shouted racist slurs and made fun of the Chinese language. The Asian man was even hit and shoved as he attempted to reclaim his cart.”
NextShark has reached out to the SFPD station responsible for the area, which said:
“We appreciate the immense support we have received from the social media community. We can provide an update as of this morning. The Bayview Police District Investigations Team (SIT) initiated the investigation. As of this morning, the SFPD Special Investigations Division has taken over and assumed lead on the investigation. The inflammatory language used in the video could suggest a possible hate crime occurred and as such SFPD SID will be taking lead. We continue to encourage anyone with information to contact us. We cannot express enough how much we appreciate the assistance we’ve received so far. Thank you all.”
Ernestine Siu contributed to this report.