Asian American suing San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin over alleged mishandling of racial attack

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Asian American suing San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin over alleged mishandling of racial attack

An Asian American man beaten with a bat two years ago in San Francisco has sued city prosecutors over their alleged mishandling of what he says was a racially motivated attack.

Anh Lê, 69, alleged that he wasn’t consulted by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office on a plea deal offered to a man who attacked him on Nov. 2, 2019 as he was walking through Chinatown, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday.

“The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office allowed the adult male attacker to plead to a misdemeanor with one-year probation, restitution to the victim and a criminal protective order,” Lê said at a press conference Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“They did this without consulting me, without any input from me at all, and in violation of my rights as a victim.”

In his suit, he alleges that he was out for a walk when he nearly collided with a boy on a busy sidewalk outside a Chinatown market, the newspaper reported.

To Lê’s shock, the boy allegedly grabbed a plastic baseball bat out of his mother’s bag and hit Lê repeatedly before his father, identified by authorities as Jimmy Tanner Sr., held up a glass bottle and threatened to kill Lê, the Daily Mail reported

The father and son were apprehended later that day.

Tanner was detained on charges of battery, felony elder abuse and terroristic threats, the outlets reported.

But prosecutors opted not to prosecute either Tanner or his son with a hate crime, and agreed to a plea deal with the father. 

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor battery offense and received a year of probation for the incident, the Daily Mail reported. 

Lê said he was never informed of the plea deal, nor the lack of intention to prosecute the attack as a hate crime.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin speaks at a press conference in protest of Mayor London Breed's plan for more policing and enforcement of laws that could affect drug users in the Tenderloin neighborhood
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is being sued by Lê for the handling of the 2019 case.
San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images / Gabrielle Lurie

Lê called the attack the “most brutal, terrifying and humiliating experience” of his life during Tuesday’s press conference. 

He said he was never given the chance to enter a victim impact statement — so nothing was read at Tanner’s plea deal hearing about the attack or the post-traumatic stress Lê said he suffers now because of it.

Rachel Marshall, a spokeswoman for the DA, said that District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been an “advocate” for services and support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, including adding multilingual advocates to his office and launching the AAPI elder abuse steering committee. 

While the attack on Lê happened in 2019, targeted attacks against the AAPI community has surged nationwide since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Police Department released statistics indicating 60 reported anti hate crimes reported citywide in 2021, up from nine in 2020 and eight in 2019. Authorities say one man is believed to be responsible for half of the 2021 attacks.

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