SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin Condemns Acts of AAPI Hate, Said Trump Encourage It, in NPR Interview

image from https://twitter.com/realchrisjbeale/status/1373709805785812993

By Elina Lingappa

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, in an NPR interview over the weekend, reaffirmed his office condemns “acts of violence and hate” toward the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and San Francisco.

Boudin pointedly said the rampant xenophobia was encouraged by former President Donald Trump.

“We are doing everything in our power to make sure that everyone is and feels safe in our communities,” Boudin said to NPR reporter, Michel Martin.

Boudin admitted that they are difficult, as they are crimes “additionally motivated by the identity of the victim,” and therefore require evidence of intent in the prosecution.

Hard evidence of racially motivated behavior, such as use of slurs or a history of racist behavior, can be hard to come by, he said, noting that authorities also often do not explicitly look for evidence to support a hate crime conviction.

If they do, hate crime convictions add a maximum of three additional years onto a sentence.

Boudin said he is not hindered from prosecuting the cases to the best of his ability, and that the District Attorney’s office will proceed with prosecution of the underlying crime, even if the additional hateful intent cannot be proven.

However, Boudin stated winning conviction for underlying crimes is often not adequate, as “it’s not always enough to make a community in fear and pain feel heard.”

Hate crime convictions often aid in making communities feel heard, he said, noting that even the concept of enhanced sentences for hate crimes may not be attacking the root causes of the problem, Boudin elaborated.

“We know that prisons are not places that really address racial bias. In fact, they exacerbate it” he explained to listeners, once again calling on non-carceral forms of accountability to solve systemic problems.

This is not a surprising sentiment from District Attorney Boudin, as he has long championed the practices of restorative justice.

However, Boudin is not alone in this call for rethinking accountability in the face of AAPI hate crimes.

AAPI activists nationwide have been calling for an approach which targets the roots of racism and white supremacy.

“We must invest in long-term solutions that address the root causes of violence and hate in our communities” read a statement released by the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta in response to the recent racially-motivated spa shootings in Atlanta, “We reject increased police presence of carceral solutions as the answer.”

Of course, carceral and police alternatives are not a universal preference. Many members of AAPI communities, particularly older community members, hope for increased police presence.

Reconciling these contrasting views in the face of the increasing presence of anti-AAPI sentiment remains a massive challenge for activists, community members, and politicians.

Boudin and his office have made it clear that these contrasting views and challenges are at the forefront of his agenda for change in San Francisco, but also nationwide.

Elina Lingappa is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco double majoring in Sociology and Politics. She is originally from Seattle, Washington, and she is deeply passionate about the spheres of criminal justice and education equity.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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11 thoughts on “SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin Condemns Acts of AAPI Hate, Said Trump Encourage It, in NPR Interview”

  1. Ron Oertel

    Boudin pointedly said the rampant xenophobia was encouraged by former President Donald Trump.

    Seems odd to be continuing to lay the blame for this on Trump, some 2 months after leaving office.  (And actually, it seemed to increase after he left office.)

    Here’s a couple of other recent examples of violence against Asians.  Though with the second incident, whatever led up to it is not shown.



      1. Ron Oertel

        There are no “before-and-after” statistics. Nor does it separate the period of time since Biden took office.

        And interestingly enough, black Americans (in the link that is included in that document) report experiencing more racist comments during the pandemic, as well.  Which wouldn’t align with Trump’s comments regarding the origin of the virus – and the result that some attribute to that.

        Are there any statistics regarding “who” is attacking Asians (e.g., by ethnicity)? And, whether or not they are Trump supporters?

        Regardless, would you agree that it’s probably better for someone like Boudin to take responsibility for his own jurisdiction? (Regardless of how one feels about a former president?)


  2. Ron Oertel

    Are there any statistics regarding “who” is attacking Asians (e.g., by ethnicity)? And, whether or not they are Trump supporters?

    I read a little further, regarding the document that Carlos posted from the AAPI.

    I noticed that it specifically listed the “white male” skin color/gender, in some of the anecdotal incidents regarding perpetrators.  But, I am seeing no other such descriptions in those accounts.

    Why do you suppose that is? (I have a theory about that. But, perhaps it’s a better question for “Aggie Yellow Horse”, or one of the other authors?)

    (I liked the name, though. Do you suppose she might be an “Aggie”?)

  3. Keith Olsen

    I think what we’re seeing now is the Democrats are trying to seize on an opportunity to make Asians feel that they are suffering from racism in order to try and turn them into another Democrat voting block.  That’s why Trump is always brought up even though Trump has nothing to do with many/most of the incidents of Asians being attacked.

  4. David Greenwald Post author

    Ironically the ADL just released a report on the anti-Asian hate

    “Asian-American respondents have experienced the largest single year-over-year rise in severe online harassment in comparison to other groups, with 17% reporting it this year compared to 11% last year,” the study found.

    Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco said this month that Trump’s
    first tweet with the term “China virus” triggered a rise in anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter.

    “The spike in physical violence against Asian-Americans across the nation was whipped up in large part by bigotry and conspiracy theories that grew online, fanned by national leaders,” including Trump, the study said.


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