After explosive allegations against DA Chesa Boudin’s office wilted under scrutiny, a 69-year-old Vietnamese American man has dropped his lawsuit claiming that Boudin violated his rights, and both sides are taking conciliatory tones.
The initial headlines were horrifying: “Asian American man attacked with bat sues progressive San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin,” and “Victim In ‘Brutal’ Chinatown Attack Sues San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin Amid Shocking Jump In Anti-Asian Hate Crimes.” The case of a 69-year-old SF Vietnamese American man who was allegedly attacked in Chinatown, and then allegedly blown off by District Attorney Chesa Boudin, drew the high-powered pro bono representation of the Alliance for Asian American Justice, cries against Boudin from Hollywood celebrities, and looked ready to galvanize the Asian American community in the recall Chesa Boudin campaign.
“Asian American victims…in SF we have been treated like garbage”— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) February 1, 2022
69-y/o Anh Le & 85-y/o Rong Xin Liao met to show solidarity & to call out the SF DA’s office.
Liao was kicked f/his walker 2/20. Le hit by a boy w/a bat & dad chased w/ glass bottle. #StopAAPIHate (1/10) pic.twitter.com/IKzXagUydc
“In November of 2019, then 69-year-old Anh Lê was walking down the street in San Francisco when he was suddenly stopped and beaten with baseball bats by a father and son, both of whom had threatened other Asian-Americans earlier that day with violence,” the California Globe reported. “They then threatened to kill him.”
A man struck with a plastic bat in SF claimed he was ignored by the DA's office. Records show he was contacted more than 2 dozen times. Via @rachelswan and @meganrcassidy https://t.co/Re6Q6p6t60— Dom Fracassa (@DominicFracassa) January 28, 2022
But when the Chronicle looked into the bat-beating case, it suddenly didn’t look very hard-hitting. Turns out there was only one bat, a plastic bat being wielded by an 11-year-old boy, and the father was in a wheelchair. The Chron added that the alleged victim Lê “refused medical attention that day,” and “had no visible injuries from the plastic bat.” As SFist reported at the time, Lê is also a contributor at the Marina Times, a doggedly anti-Boudin publication whose editor emeritus is paid to run a Substack dedicated to finding dirt on Boudin.
New: Anh Lê, a Vietnamese-American man who sued DA Boudin's office for alleged violations of his rights as a victim, has dismissed the suit.https://t.co/LlHZQwWq6R— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) March 1, 2022
And now the case is ending in a big bag of Gilda Radner “Never mind.” Tuesday, the Chronicle reported that Lê and his attorneys have voluntarily dropped the lawsuit. In an email to the Chron, Lê’s lawyers said “he has decided to collaborate and engage with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in mediation to find a solution that creates a safe haven for all Asian Americans in San Francisco.”
Boudin’s office was gracious in the news of the dismissal. “I welcome the opportunity to work in good faith with anyone who shares my commitment to expanding and improving victim services, particularly for vulnerable elderly or limited English speaking members of our community,” he told the Chronicle.
At tonight's @SFDemocrats meeting, I cast my vote to endorse the @safersfnoboudin recall of Chesa Boudin. He has failed to balance criminal justice reform, public safety, and victims rights, which has led to unsafe conditions throughout SF, esp in vulnerable communities.— Nancy Tung 湯曉慧 (@NancyTungSF) February 24, 2022
Will this change the tone between Boudin and several vocal Asian American community figures? Heck no, probably not! Above we see Nancy Tung, whom Boudin defeated in the 2019 race for the office, pushing for Democrats to support Boudin’s recall. The dismissal of the lawsuit is unlikely to change any of these dynamics, but it’s certainly one less headache for Boudin as he juggles the job of DA with the task of beating back a recall campaign.
Related: Key Takeaways From Chesa Boudin's New York Times Interview [SFist]