The man accused of attacking former San Francisco commissioner-at-large Greg Chew earlier this month will not face hate crime charges.
Chew, 70, who first spoke anonymously with ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim, was walking in the area at around 7:30 p.m. when a man allegedly jumped off of a bike, knocked Chew to the ground and punched him in the face. Chew said he had pepper spray in his pocket but did not have the time to use it.
The former city official ended up with a cut, bruising and swelling to his face, as well as a fractured left clavicle. He said nothing was taken from him during the incident.
Yearby, who appeared for an initial hearing at the San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, has been charged by District Attorney Brooke Jenkins’ Office with assault with an enhancement for great bodily injury, battery causing serious bodily injury and elder abuse with great bodily injury, which are all felonies. Additionally, he is facing a misdemeanor vandalism charge.
“Unprovoked, violent attacks against our AAPI communities must stop,” Jenkins said in a statement. “These felony charges are the first step in seeking to hold violent offenders accountable and restoring confidence in our criminal justice system for victims of crime.”
However, Yearby was not charged with a hate crime. Chew is reportedly pushing for it to happen.
Following the hearing, Chew told The San Francisco Standard that he wants the police to further investigate the incident. He believes it was racially motivated and wants the DA’s Office to file hate crime charges.
“Why did he come beat me, break my face, break my shoulder?” Chew asked, according to The Standard. “Did he pick me up because I am Asian, Chinese and old?”
District Attorney spokesperson Randy Quezada, however, said there is insufficient evidence for a hate crime enhancement. While he acknowledged the trend of attacks against elderly Asian Americans, he said the evidence presented in Chew’s case “does not indicate a specific motive for the attack as required by the hate crime statute.”
For now, Yearby remains held pending trial due to “the violence and seriousness” of his charges. His next hearing is scheduled for Friday.