Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misstated that Anh Lê dropped the case. This version has been updated to report that he “paused” it instead, according to his lawyers.
An Asian American attack victim has “paused” his federal lawsuit against the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office for allegedly mishandling his battery case, saying the matter is now being reconciled through mediation.
Anh Lê, 69, launched the suit in January, claiming that Chesa Boudin’s office failed to involve him in plea discussions that led to a lenient sentence for Jimmy Tanner Sr., the man who allegedly attacked him in November 2019.
The alleged incident
Lê, who was out for a walk in Chinatown, claimed that Tanner threatened to kill him with a glass bottle, while his 11-year-old son repeatedly struck him with a baseball bat. Tanner’s lawyer disputed the allegations in a statement to NextShark, saying his “severely disabled” client was traveling on a wheelchair and that his son swung a “plastic” baseball bat at Lê “out of fear.”
Lê’s legal team denied those claims, saying, “Mr. Tanner followed him on foot when he chased Mr. Lê with a glass bottle and was on foot when he attacked others the same day.” They also said Lê did not know whether the bat used by Tanner’s son to allegedly attack him was plastic, but that it was “3 feet long, solid and painful.”
ABC7 reporter Dion Lim obtained surveillance images of Tanner and his son, along with the bat in question. Although NextShark could not independently verify the material of the bat, the image of Tanner showed him standing on both feet inside what appeared to be a retail store.
The case against Boudin
The suit against Boudin’s office alleged that the district attorney failed to inform Lê of developments in the original case. Lê claimed that, without his knowledge, the office allowed Tanner to plead guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge in exchange for no jail time and only a year of probation.
The 69-year-old also alleged that he was not given a chance to submit and read a victim impact statement in court. Additionally, he claimed that the office refused to correct a Criminal Protective Order (CPO) that omitted his last name — identifying him only as “Anh L” — and misstated his age.
Lê, who believes the attack was motivated by racism, also objected to the office’s decision not to charge Tanner with a hate crime.
‘Pausing’ the suit
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle first reported that Lê had dismissed the suit. However, he could refile the case “if an agreement cannot be reached through mediation.”
His lawyers at King & Spalding sent NextShark the following statement:
“Mr. Lê has maintained from the moment this case was filed that his goal was to bring about positive change for Asian American victims of crime in San Francisco. In an effort to bring about that change, he has decided to collaborate and engage with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in mediation to find a solution that creates a safe haven for all Asian Americans in San Francisco.
“As a show of good faith in that mediation, Mr. Lê has voluntarily dismissed his claim without prejudice giving him the right to refile the case if an agreement cannot be reached through mediation. It is our sincere hope that we can find a collaborative solution so that Mr. Lê and other Asian Americans know that the justice system respects their rights and hears their voice.”
Boudin’s office welcomed Lê’s decision.
“I welcome the opportunity to work in good faith with anyone who shares my commitment to expanding and improving victim services, particularly for vulnerable elderly or limited English speaking members of our community,” Boudin told the Chronicle.
Featured Image via Alliance for Asian American Justice (left) and Chesa Boudin (right)