By Linh Nguyen
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced the filing Monday of 33 charges against 36-year-old Derik Barreto—all but a couple are said to be for racially motivated hate crimes against Chinese-owned businesses.
The 33 charges cover 27 separate incidents against 20 primarily Chinese-owned businesses. These offenses occurred between April and August 2021. Barreto was arraigned Monday.
Barreto is charged with 27 felony counts of vandalism, four felony counts of second-degree burglary, one misdemeanor count of possession of burglary tools and one misdemeanor count of possession of a concealed weapon. A hate crime enhancement accompanies 31 counts.
“We absolutely do not tolerate violence or hate in San Francisco. Chinese-owned businesses should be able to operate without fear of being racially targeted by vandalism, burglary, or harassment,” Boudin said. “We stand with San Francisco’s AAPI community against hate and will do everything in our power to make sure everyone is and feels safe.”
Regarding the vandalism charges, Barreto allegedly traveled on a scooter and shattered the windows of 20 stores using a slingshot, pipe or hammer. These Chinese-owned businesses were located along the Ocean Avenue corridor and in the Mission district.
Regarding the burglary counts, Barreto allegedly took cash and other items from these stores after breaking in through the windows he broke.
The hate crime enhancements were added after hearing the statements Barreto allegedly made to the police, suggesting that he intentionally targeted businesses he believed to be Chinese-owned and that he was motivated by the perceived race and nationality of the victims.
Chase Luck Bakery is one of the businesses Barreto hit.
“The family running this eatery is of modest means. Everyone helps to operate the bakery seven-days a week; typical of the immigrant family story—just trying hard to make something better for the children and the community,” according to the bakery’s GoFundMe page.
“It angers and saddens me to learn of the periodic vandalism and destruction of property by transients or possible hate-crime perpetrators. Why target these small businesses?” the page read.
According to the Census, San Francisco County is approximately 37 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander. The District Attorney’s Office says they are dedicated to combating hate against the AAPI community and other targeted communities. The DA partnered with the San Francisco Police Department in an effort to identify and report and investigate hate crimes.
In another effort to protect the AAPI community from hate and violence, the District Attorney’s Office held a virtual summit featuring a keynote by state Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu.
Boudin has repeatedly condemned the disturbing trend in crimes against the AAPI community.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a deeply concerning increase in the incidence of hate and violence against the AAPI community,” he said. “We will not stand for it and we will do everything in our power to stop it.”