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A man who allegedly yelled anti-Asian slurs while attacking an elderly community leader in Oakland’s Chinatown is no longer facing hate crime charges.
What happened: James Lee Ramsey, 25, is accused of assaulting Carl Chan, 62, in the 400 block of 8th St. on April 29. According to Chan, Ramsey yelled “F*ck you Chinatown!” and “F*ck you Chinaman!” before striking him in the back of his head.
Chan, who serves as president of Oakland’s Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, was heading to visit another victim of an anti-Asian incident when the alleged attack occurred. He fell to the ground and suffered a scraped knee but managed to take a photo of his assailant, which is what he preaches for other Asians to do when attacked..
Shortly after the incident, Oakland police arrested Ramsey, who was still wearing the same clothes and carrying the same backpack. A parolee with multiple convictions, he was charged with felony assault and a hate crime for the alleged attack.
Last month, Chan, an outspoken figure amid the surge of anti-Asian incidents, urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a state of emergency in Oakland and deploy California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers to improve public safety. After a formal request from Mayor Libby Schaaf, Newsom ordered the CHP deployment but declined to issue a state of emergency declaration.
The latest: On Sept. 9, Ramsey pleaded no contest to his assault charge in exchange for having the hate crime enhancement dropped, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office also agreed to drop his charges of committing a violent crime while on parole and against an elderly person, since Chan was over 60.
Ramsey’s public defenders have challenged inconsistencies in Chan’s version of the events. During his initial police interview, the Chinatown leader repeatedly said that his attacker called him a “b*tch” — but did not mention his use of racial slurs, The Oaklandside noted.
It was on the following day after attending a rally when Chan told authorities for the first time that his attacker had used a racial slur. When asked why he did not mention it in his first interview, Chan said “I don’t remember, because I knew that I was so shocked at the time, and I tried to describe and answer as much as I could.”
Records show that Ramsey had been struggling with mental issues from an early age. He reportedly denied targeting Chan because he was Asian.
Ramsey will return to court for his sentencing on Nov. 4.
Featured Image via Henry K. Lee / KTVU (left) and Carl Chan (center, right)
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