Attack on Elderly Asian Woman in San Francisco Not Racially Motivated, Attorney Says

Newly-released surveillance video shows that a beating suspect was himself a victim of assault moments before he allegedly attacked an elderly Asian woman in San Francisco. Maria Medina reports. (4-8-21)

Video Transcript

- San Francisco's Market Street, weeks after an Asian grandma was viciously attacked. Tonight, the suspect's public defender says there's more to this story. Newly released surveillance video shows the moment the woman is beaten, leaving her bloodied and badly bruised. But it also shows the suspect is a victim himself of an assault. Tonight, KPIX finds Maria Medina gives us a breakdown of the video.

- Um, I think the most important goal right now is to communicate to the public that this was not racially motivated.

- In newly released video by the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, their client, Steven Jenkins is captured hitting Xiao Zhen Xie. Leaving the woman in her 70s so bruised and bloodied, she temporarily couldn't see out of one eye.

- This is not a hate crime.

- But deputy public defender, Eric McBurney says it's possible Jenkins mistook Xie for his own attackers.

- This doesn't take away from the tragedy of what happened to Mr. Shaw and Mr. Pham. But that's the other message in this. It's a tragedy and there's three victims of assault.

- Before Jenkins is accused of punching Xie as well as 83-year-old Ngoc Pham, the video shows Jenkins being repeatedly attacked himself. He runs to the corner where Xie is standing, appears to throw something at his assailant, then hits Xie

- Everybody's wearing masks now, including his assailants and including Mr. Shaw and Mr. Pham. This my argument, that at that point he is dazed and he is concussed.

- What a prosecutor will look at in this video is that the only people that this gentleman attacked were two elderly Asians, and they were defenseless and had nothing to do with his initial altercation. The DA will point to the fact that this is the essence of a hate crime.

- But former prosecutor and legal analyst, Stephen Clark believes while the video shows the chaotic scene, it doesn't justify the attacks on Xie and Pham.

- He could have hit a lot of people in that plaza because he was angry, but he picked these two elderly Asians. That is going to be a very big problem for the public defender.

- It's really complicated. Maria, what else did that public defender tell you about the suspect?

- Yeah, he says his client is homeless and suffers from mental health issues. And that when he was being attacked, no one jumped in to help him. Allen.

- Interesting. All right, Maria. Thanks so much.