A viral video emerged a week ago showing an elderly Asian man being beaten by a stick and robbed of recyclables he had collected to support his family. The crime was allegedly filmed by 20-year-old Dwayne Grayson, who ridiculed the victim, yelled “I hate Asians,” and taunted the senior citizen to try and retrieve his cans, ridiculing him when the elderly man began to cry. Grayson then allegedly published the video to social media.
The elderly victim has lived in San Francisco for six years and supports his family by collecting and selling recyclables, and although he is likely eligible for federal aid, he has refused any government benefits out of strong preference to sustain himself.
An investigation resulted in the San Francisco Police making two arrests in association with the crime, taking Grayson into custody on February 28, and later Jonathan Amerson on March 1st. Grayson was booked on charges of robbery, elder abuse, and a hate crime enhancement, but today San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin surprisingly withdrew charges against Grayson, according to spokesman Alex Bastian.
Boudin was sworn in as San Francisco’s district attorney just a month ago on January 8th, running on a platform that promised to tackle racial disparities and justice for minorities, likening the current system to slavery. But this dismissal of charges against Grayson has sparked controversy against Boudin, which has been characterized by some as an endorsement of hate crimes against Asians and as an approval of hate crimes if committed by an African American.
Boudin, who narrowly won the election in November 2019 for the district attorney seat, took Cantonese lessons to engage with Chinese-speaking voters and secured the top endorsement from the Singtao Daily during his campaign. The voting district has a very large Asian population, and members of the Chinese community have been watching this case very closely to see how the new DA would handle the situation.
Boudin’s victory was shrouded with controversy due to his former employment under Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and as the adopted son of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, two leaders of Weather Underground, a radical left militant organization that bombed the New York Police Department in 1970, the US Capitol building in 1971 and the Pentagon in 1972.
Boudin also attracted attention to himself by vowing to prosecute ICE agents and police officers, and to create an “immigrant defense unit” within his office in order to “stand up to Trump on immigration.”
The Community Youth Center of San Francisco created a GoFundMe account for the victim of this crime, which as of this update has raised over $40,000 to help the victim’s family with rent, utilities, and food.