A mentally ill Oakland man who was previously convicted for a 2021 assault on Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce leader Carl Chan has now been charged in an attack on an elderly Asian woman that took place in SF last week.
The incident occurred Friday morning on the unit block of Ellis Street. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old James Lee Ramsey of Oakland, allegedly kicked an 88-year-old woman to the ground, causing serious injuries. A witness proceeded to detain Ramsey at the scene until police arrived, and this witness was also allegedly battered by Ramsey.
On Tuesday, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced charges against Ramsey, which include assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and felony elder abuse.
"The crimes that Mr. Ramsey is accused of are horrific," Jenkins said in a statement. "I am grateful to the witness who was able to detain him until police arrived ensuring that he did not flee. My office, on behalf of the victims and every San Franciscan who is fed up with brazen violence like this, will stand for justice and seek to hold him accountable for his crimes."
Mayor London Breed subsequently tweeted about the charges, saying, "Attacks against anyone in our city is unacceptable, but especially when it comes to our seniors. Thank you @SFPD for the quick arrest, and thank you @BrookeJenkinsSF for bringing charges and sending a clear message about accountability."
Ramsey was released from Santa Rita Jail in May 2022 after serving time for the 2021 assault on Chan in Oakland's Chinatown. He is currently serving 18 months of supervised probation for that crime.
He had been sentenced to 18 months in jail but served less than that due to credits and time served. He had been diverted to the county jail, as KTVU reports, rather than state prison due to his documented mental illness. According to his attorneys, Ramsay has bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
He pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on Tuesday.
"Our elderly Asian community is in fear every day of walking down the street because of situations like this," said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, speaking to KTVU. "We have to make sure that people understand that there is accountability in this city when a crime like this is committed."
Jenkins and SFPD Chief Bill Scott are holding a press conference about the incident and Ramsey's arrest in Portsmouth Square, in SF's Chinatown, Wednesday at 2 p.m. and NBC Bay Area will be livestreaming it.
Friday's assault follows a spate of similar incidents involving AAPI victims, including an assault on a 63-year-old woman earlier this month who died after being pushed to the ground at a Bayview District bus stop.