Asian-American Attacks: Community leaders fearful proposed new State Senate crime bill could actually lead to more attacks

Oakland community leaders fearful proposed new State Senate crime bill could actually lead to more attacks

Video Transcript

- Live look at Oakland tonight. Many Asian-Americans are pushing back against a proposed bill they say would lead to even more violent attacks. Da Lin is in Oakland's Chinatown with why people are so worried about it.

DA LIN: Senate Bill 82 would reclassify certain robberies. Chinatown leaders say under that proposal, many of the recent robberies would be reclassified as petty crimes.

Oakland Chinatown often turns into a ghost town after dark because of COVID and worries about getting robbed. That's why Asian leaders say SB 82 would cause even more fear.

WENG KEE FU: SB 82, at this time, it feels like were saying yes or encouraging crimes and not punishing them.

DA LIN: Opponents of the bill filled the Pacific Renaissance Plaza Saturday afternoon. East Bay State Senator Nancy Sinner wrote the bill. Under SB 82, robbery's under $950 that don't involve deadly weapons or result in serious injuries would be considered petty thefts.

ALAN AUYEUNG: We think that this bill, especially at this time, is tone deaf.

DA LIN: For example, this robbery of a grandmother in Oakland last month would turn to a first degree petty-- [AUDIO OUT] this one would also be reclassified. Chinatown leader Carl Chan says most counties don't prosecute petty theft cases.

CARL CHAN: I think we are trying to reward those who are committing crime and punishing the victims.

DA LIN: Let's use Oakland as an example. Last year, 961 reports of strong-arm robberies. Depending on injuries and dollar amounts, under SB 82, many of these cases would be reclassified as petty thefts. State Senator Skinner did not answer the questions I sent her, instead released a statement saying, "If enacted, SB 82 will not change or reduce the criminal penalty on violent assaults such as the one that happened Tuesday or any of the other violent attacks on elder Asian residents that have occurred recently."

She was referring to the robbery that killed 75-year-old Pak Ho. This woman says she hasn't made up her mind about SB 82.

JENN LI: Maybe because I have a more forgiving nature, it's like, well, maybe they just really needed some money. So they were trying to just take my stuff. But they didn't want to hurt me. Then I'm just, like, hopeful that there will be a second chance for them.

DA LIN: In Oakland, I'm Da Lin, KPIX 5.