By Lovepreet Dhinsa
SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office charged Sidney Hammond with the attacks on members of the Asian American community and concludes that his actions were racially motivated.
According to Boudin, “we received new evidence that Sidney Hammond’s attacks on Asian victims–including an Asian father pushing a stroller–were racially motivated. We will be charging Mr. Hammond with hate crimes. We are fighting for the victims in these attacks and for all victims of hate crimes.”
26-year-old Sidney Hammond attacked a 36-year-old Asian American father who was out on a walk with his one-year-old child in a stroller. The father was walking in the Mission Bay neighborhood on a Friday afternoon, in broad daylight, when Hammond attacked from behind.
The attack was captured by surveillance video, which was seemingly unprovoked and no words had been exchanged between the two. Because of this, the fact that this incident could have been racially motivated did cross the mind of the 36-year-old father.
Hammond punched the father, which caused him to fall face down, after which he was punched a total of 14 times to the head and back, as his baby’s stroller rolled away.
The surveillance video shows the father running to grab his child’s stroller after being attacked, as several bystanders watch. The baby was unharmed; however, the police stated that the father sustained several “non-life-threatening injuries”.
According to the surveillance cameras, it appeared that Hammond did not cease his attack until nearby law enforcement arrived on the scene. A police officer had to physically pull Hammond away from the father.
According to the father, his “sense of security has been shattered, [when he] was right on the ground and in that exact second I was trying to shield my head and prevent any worse injuries. I couldn’t protect my child. I was on the floor and he was in a stroller that was slowly rolling away, so it’s definitely very scary as a parent.”
The father did offer his encouragement for more rehabilitative processes, in which he stated that he wanted his attacker to be “somewhere where he can’t harm anyone else or if he needs help, he can get the help he needs.”
The Police Department arrested Hammond, charging him with assault, false imprisonment, and child endangerment. Hammond had not been charged with a hate crime, until very recently.
However, the series of attacks Hammond has committed on different members of the AAPI community have added up.
Less than a month before this incident, Hammond was arrested for shoplifting from the same market he had pushed the father in front of and for pushing someone onto train tracks. He was able to be released on bail.
Further, one day before the incident, Hammond also had been caught on video attacking a 61-year-old Asian man from behind in the Tenderloin district, who ultimately hit his head on a nearby pole falling to the ground.
The Police Department was able to identify Hammond in this assault from another previous incident, where he had threatened and assaulted a grocery store worker, when he was found stealing from the store.
Hammond remains in custody and will be presented for a preliminary hearing on May 27th.
These attacks were not charged as hate crimes, but have been recorded as such when the District Attorney got involved. Numerous attacks have occured to members of the AAPI community in the city, and the District Attorney’s office has been proactive in prosecuting these cases, and continues to remain so.
Lovepreet Dhinsa is a junior undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Politics with a minor in Legal Studies. She has a passion for criminal defense law, and strives to go to law school to fight for indigent clients. As such, she is also involved in her university’s mock trial program and student government.
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