I feel like the stories that come out of San Francisco are frequently an embarrassment to the city, to its leaders and oftentimes to its residents who, let’s face it, voted for a lot of what they are getting. But this particular story reaches to the level of international embarrassment.
Back in early 2020, just as the pandemic was gearing up, an elderly Chinese man named Rong Xin Liao was sitting on his walker waiting for bus when he was attacked.
84-year old Rong Xin Liao was sitting and waiting for the 31 Balboa bus near the area of Eddy and Leavenworth Streets the morning of Feb. 20 when his life was upended.
“I didn’t do anything to him,” says Liao from his assisted living facility.
In surveillance video, a young man appears out of the blue and in a matter of seconds kicks his seated walker right out from under him and Liao falls to the ground, headfirst.
Liao blacked out and eventually needed 6 stitches to close the wound to his head. The attack was caught on video:
This is the horrific kicking. The suspect is Eric Ramos-Hernandez. He has a hearing 4/14 hence the date of the rally.
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) March 31, 2021
The man responsible for the attack, Eric Ramos-Hernandez, was released after just 7 months and sent home thanks to then-DA Chesa Boudin. Finally a judge decided to put an end his lenient treatment.
Eric Ramos-Hernandez, who was caught on surveillance video attacking Liao, was charged with assault and inflicting injuries on an elder. He was jailed for seven months and then admitted to Mental Health Diversion, which meant he was released for treatment at home. The diversion program focuses on rehabilitation to reduce recidivism, and, if participants successfully finish the program, they are released and the charges are dropped. However, during the release, Ramos-Hernandez was arrested and convicted of a misdemeanor in the South Bay, which put him back in custody. That new conviction was the basis for the recent hearing that led to the judge reversing course on the Mental Health Diversion deal.
All of which should have been more than enough drama for an elderly man. But it turns out this wasn’t the first time he’d been attacked. Seven years ago he was walking to breakfast when he was attacked on the street. He woke up in an emergency room.
The fractured part of his right hand was covered with bandages and required 8 stitches. The police questioned him many times, but he had no memory of what happened, and the case was dropped.
The second attack in 2020 was caught on video so at least his attacker was caught this time. And then just a few months ago he was attacked on the street again.
Uncle Liao was pushing his wheelchair in front of the Walgreens pharmacy near Market Street and 4th Street. Suddenly, an African-American young man approached him and punched him in the head. Uncle Liao was beaten until his face was covered in blood and his eyes were swollen. Upon seeing this, a Walgreens employee called the police, who rushed to the scene and arrested the still unscrupulous gangster.
And that was the last straw. This past Sunday Liao had a final meeting in Chinatown with seven of his old friends, people he will likely never see again. This coming weekend Rong Xin Liao is flying back to China after more than 24 years in the United States. He and his family have decided it is simply too dangerous for him to stay here in San Francisco.
Rongxin Liao, 87, will take a flight this Saturday back to Guangzhou, Guangdong on a one-way ticket, his son, Jing Liao, confirmed with The Standard. Rongxin Liao plans to spend the rest of his life there.
“It’s too dangerous here,” Jing said in Cantonese. “Public safety situation in San Francisco has become worse and worse.”
San Francisco’s leaders should be collectively ashamed that they can’t maintain enough public safety to protect a vulnerable old man from becoming a victim of multiple random street attacks. His only choice is to flee the city for somewhere safer.
This is an older story about the case.
Reminder that next Tuesday 1/11/2022 at 10:30am, there’s a hearing for Eric Ramos Hernandez, the young man who jump kicked elderly Asian man, Mr Rong Xin Liao. Hearing is at SF Hall of Justice 850 Bryant Street, Dept 15 on the 2nd floor. #Justiceforasianelders #protectourelders pic.twitter.com/5epY1A6Y17
— Leanna Louie 雷千紅 for District 4 Supervisor (@LeannaLouieD4SF) January 6, 2022