SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A 53-year-old man accused of using racist slurs while attacking an Asian American man in San Francisco is facing felony assault and hate crime charges.
Victor Humberto Brown was initially booked on misdemeanor counts, but prosecutors recently elevated the case to a felony, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. In a brief court appearance Friday, he said he has post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ron Tuason, an Army veteran of Filipino, Chinese and Spanish descent, told the newspaper he was at a bus stop in the city’s Ingleside neighborhood on March 13 when Brown approached him, yelling “Get out of my country” before using a racial slur meant to denigrate Asian people.
Tuason said Brown also said, “It’s because of you there’s a problem here.” Tuason, 56, said he believes Brown was referring to the coronavirus.
Tuason said Brown punched him multiple times, knocking him to the ground.
Tuason said he suffered a black eye and a swollen cheek as a result of the attack. He said he’s also experiencing memory loss.
Police found the suspect shortly after Tuason called 911.
When he was arrested, police said they determined Brown was wanted on three separate warrants for violating probation in San Francisco, battery in San Jose and battery on a bus driver in Santa Clara County.
The charges against Brown come amid a wave of high-profile and sometimes deadly violence against Asian Americans since the coronavirus entered the United States.
Tuason said he wants justice done, not only for himself but for all of the other victims of anti-Asian attacks throughout the country.
“At the same time, I want fairness,” he 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.”
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