SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – An attorney representing a man accused of an anti-Asian attack in San Francisco says there’s more to the story.
A new video shows the suspect Steven Jenkins striking a grandmother in the face who then fights back.
The story of the attack went viral last month as there’s been a dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.
More than a million dollars in donations also flooded in for the 75-year-old victim but the attorney says Jenkins actions were not racially motivated.
This public defender says this situation is much more complex than it appears.
The initial outrage was that this was another racially motivated anti-Asian attack but the suspect may have actually been confused when he hit this woman because — He too was being attacked.
New surveillance video shows the moment a man punches a 75-year-old Asian woman in the face in San Francisco.
The story exploded last month after the victim responded by grabbing a wooden board and hitting her attacker while he was thrown to the ground by a security guard.
The suspect, 39-year-old Steven Jenkins, was arrested shortly thereafter.
“Remember what you thought when you first heard this story. This is not a hate crime. This is not racially motivated,” Eric McBurney said.
Deputy Public Defender Eric McBurney says this video tells more of the story. It shows on the morning of March 17th multiple attacks on Jenkins near U.N. Plaza.
He’s seen being punched and kicked nearly 50 times, unprovoked by unknown assailants.
McBurney says as Jenkins was beaten and bloodied he became disoriented and tried getting away.
“This video puts more context into what occurred that day than the simple version out there because this is a person who doesn’t have a history of this. He has no prior convictions for hurting people,” McBurney said.
Just minutes before striking Xiao Zhen Xie on the corner of Market and 7th, Jenkins is accused of also hitting an 83-year-old Asian man. That attack has not been seen on video but what is seen is an unknown man in a yellow vest following Jenkins down the street before he swings on Xie.
McBurney says the whole situation is a tragedy because Jenkins is a homeless man who was being attacked and no one came to his aid and his confusion may have led him to strike the other two victims.
“We are continuing to investigate but we ask everyone to remember why due process is in play and why these kinds of presumptions that apply to our law,” McBurney said.
Jenkins is not facing hate crime charges but is facing charges for assault and elder abuse.
A preliminary hearing scheduled to happen Friday.