Outrage. Pure outrage. That is what many of us felt when we watched the video of a 67-year- old man being beaten and robbed while trying to do his laundry. The outrage did not come solely from watching three cowards jump a senior citizen. It also came from knowing that this attack was not unique. That an attack like this would almost certainly happen again. It came from knowing that San Franciscans of Asian descent are being targeted every day, for profit and for hate, by thugs who do not fear repercussions.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association quickly issued a $2,500 reward to hold these perpetrators accountable. While the reward was offered to facilitate an arrest, it was also offered as a simple symbol of solidarity to our Asian community. And we meant it.
We were pleasantly surprised when we were contacted by the Burma Love and Superstar Restaurants, a San Francisco-based restaurant group, to partner on an effort to catch these perpetrators as well as raise awareness of the crimes being committed against Bay Area AAPI residents. It was heartening to have a local business actively embrace the SFPOA’s role in the community.
In short time, Burma Love and Superstar Restaurants brought in another partner they work with, the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and we launched the Crimes Against Asians Reward Fund (CAARF). The goal of CAARF is to solicit tips that will directly assist in apprehending and arresting suspects who have committed attacks against members of the AAPI community. Together, we are sending a clear message to these thugs, we’re watching and the community is working together to hold you accountable for your crimes. So, don’t bother.
In setting up CAARF, the three organizations agreed that too often, especially in San Francisco, criminals go unpunished, get light punishment, and even go unprosecuted. That’s why we purposefully stated that rewards will be given to those who help the investigating law enforcement agency in making an arrest that closes out the case. At the press conference launching CAARF Burma’s COO, Nghia Tran, summed it up best, “We believe that a lot of these crimes are being committed because there is little to no consequences.” Amen.
While Chesa Boudin likes to label anyone who expresses concern over crime as a fear monger, the reality is in our AAPI community we have residents who fear walking to the store. They fear getting out for a morning walk. That’s real. And it’s not right.
While it may not fit in Mr. Boudin’s worldview, the fact is when someone commits a violent crime with little to no consequences, it makes the community feel unsafe. So, when Boudin starts whipping stats around like a 3-card Monte dealer trying to convince the public that we don’t have a crime problem, that going soft on criminals makes it less likely to reoffend in the future he isn’t fooling anyone. He does nothing but exacerbate the fear.
We’ve been asked, why a reward fund for just the AAPI community? All crime victims deserve justice and they deserve our protection. Right now, however, the attacks being carried out against AAPI community members are escalating, and the targets are nearly always our most vulnerable population, seniors. It’s no mistake we repeatedly see that these attacks and robberies against AAPI community members are being perpetrated against senior citizens. We cannot allow that to continue.
As CAARF moves forward, we want to build the war chest to fight back against these assaults. Our group’s initial goal is to raise $50,000. The SFPOA will help fundraise towards that. We also are providing the group with law enforcement expertise in interfacing with other law enforcement agencies and qualifying potential reward cases. CAARF is considering cases across the Bay Area.
We encourage you to make-a-donation to the fund at https://www.caarf.org/. No amount is too small, as every dollar gives you an equity share in making our communities safer for everyone.
This is a completely new experience for the SFPOA. An experience we are embracing because it gives us the unique opportunity to work beyond law enforcement to build stronger, safer neighborhoods. It’s an opportunity to help bring arrests to the doorstep of our District Attorney to tell him put up or shut up. Do your job. You wanted cases. Here they are. And, by the way Mr. Boudin, the entire community is watching.