Hate crime charges filed against attacker of Fil-Am in SF
SAN FRANCISCO – A suspect in a March 13 attack on a Filipino American veteran is facing felony assault and hate crime charges.
The suspect, 53-year-old Victor Brown, allegedly used racist slurs and told the victim to “get out of my country.”
The charges against Brown come amid a spate of attacks against Asians nationwide.
The victim and Army veteran Ron Tuason, 56, said Brown first noticed him from across the street. Tuason had just finished grocery shopping and was waiting for a bus.
Brown allegedly began using racist language against Tuason and, referring to the veteran’s hat Tuason was wearing, yelled that he, Brown, was a veteran and Tuason was not.
Brown said, “Get out of my country,’” Tuason explained, before using a racial slur intended to denigrate Asian people. Tuason said Brown continued, “It’s because of you there’s a problem here.’”
Tuason said he tried to de-escalate the situation and didn’t want to fight as he was carrying a backpack full of groceries and a cane. Brown allegedly knocked him over and punched him.
“I did the best I could, I curled up and tucked up my head (until) passersby assisted me,” Tuason told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“At the same time, I want fairness,” Tuason said. “If he fell through the cracks — and I’ve fallen through the cracks in different situations in my life — I don’t want him to get the book thrown at him,” he told SF Chronicle.
Brown was initially booked as a misdemeanor, but the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office recently elevated it to a felony. Hate crimes are charged as enhancements on felonies, and can add up to three extra years on a sentence.
Appearing in court Friday morning, March 26, Brown claimed he was being railroaded and that he had post-traumatic stress disorder.
Brown’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Syliva Cediel, said, “I ask the public to reserve judgment until all facts come to light.”
Aside from the assault and battery, hate crime enhancement and possession of narcotic paraphernalia charges stemming from the March 13 attack on Tuason, Brown was also arrested on three previous arrest warrants — a violation of post-release community supervision in San Francisco, a battery in San Jose, and a battery on a bus driver in Santa Clara County.