By Paloma Sifuentes
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SF District Attorney Brookie Jenkins Thursday said in February Joseph Benjamin harassed an Asian American Muni bus driver by spitting on him and making disparaging remarks, and then boarded another Muni bus and started throwing eggs at two Asian American passengers and a third passenger who tried to intervene.
Jenkins announced charges that were placed on Benjamin for those incidents, including “four counts of battery on a transit employee or passenger in connection to two incidents aboard SFMTA Muni buses… and three counts of violation of individuals’ civil rights.”
According to DA Jenkins, hate crimes are unacceptable in the city of San Francisco and those committing these acts will be held accountable, noting hate crimes “profoundly impact victims and are toxic to our community that strives to be a safe haven that is open and welcoming to all people.”
Joseph Benjamin was arraigned on Wednesday, and may face up to seven years in state prison if he is convicted of all charges, said Jenkins.
Evidence found that these crimes were motivated by hatred toward the Asian community, said Jenkins, noting for a hate crime to be charged it “requires proving that the defendant committed the offenses because of the victim’s actual or perceived disability, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or association with a person or group with one or more of those actual or perceived characteristics.”