SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, September 28 it was announced that O’Sean Garcia was charged with seven felonies for his role in seven separate robberies that the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office allegedly deemed hate crimes against Asian American women.
“We do not tolerate hate or violence in San Francisco, and those who commit violence or target our AAPI community members will be held accountable,” said District Attorney Chesa Boudin. “We know the pain that crimes like this can cause to the broader community; these attacks against Asian women occurred during a time when many in the AAPI community across the nation have felt especially vulnerable. We condemn these crimes and we will continue to work to protect the AAPI community and keep everyone safe.”
Garcia was charged with the following counts: 1) Robbery (Penal Code Section 211) on September 21, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; 2) Robbery (Penal Code Section 211) on March 13, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; 3) Attempted robbery on March 13, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; 4) Attempted robbery on March 13, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; 5) Robbery on March 20, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; 6) Attempted robbery on August 5, 2021, with a hate crime allegation; and 7) Robbery on August 5, 2021, with a hate crime allegation.
The crimes between March and September, where each of the victims were of Asian descent, many of whom were monolingual Cantonese-speakers.
On March 13, it is alleged the defendant committed three separate robberies. One victim, a 40 year-old Cantonese-speaking woman, was outside her home around 7:30 p.m. when a suspect grabbed her backpack and pulled her to the ground to take it, while another suspect helped remove it. Another 18 year-old victim is alleged to have suffered an attempted robbery around 8:30 p.m. while walking home when a man ran up to her and tried to grab her bag; the victim pepper sprayed the man in the face, causing him to release the bag and run away. The third alleged victim, a 29 year-old woman, experienced an attempted robbery around 9 p.m. when a suspect demanded she give him her bag, and tried to grab her backpack. The suspect ultimately gave up as she held onto the item. All of the robberies involved a red sedan.
On March 20, it is alleged that a 52 year-old victim, a monolingual Cantonese Asian-speaking woman, was walking around 5:45 p.m. when two males grabbed her purse and she was pushed to the ground and dragged before the men took her purse and left in a vehicle.
On August 5, Garcia is alleged to have committed two robberies with 10 minutes apart. In one incident, around 10:20 a.m., the victim—a 36 year-old woman was in her driveway when she felt her backpack grabbed as she held on to the straps and dropped to the ground screaming. Her mother came outside and shouted at the two suspects, who left in a car without taking anything. In the second incident, around 10:30 a.m. a 61 year-old woman was returning home when she was approached from behind by a suspect grabbing her bag from her hands.
The most recent incident occurred on September 21, around 5:55 p.m., when a 27 year-old woman was robbed of her backpack as she was getting out of her car. The backpack contained multiple items, including her laptop, which allowed the authorities to track it and locate Garcia.
The District Attorney’s Office is asking members of the AAPI community, particularly the elderly, who feel unsafe to reach out for support. Seniors in need of escorts for activities like medical appointments or grocery shopping can reach out to Self Help for the Elderly’s escort program. A flyer in Chinese is also available.
Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is asked to contact the SFDA’s Hate Crime hotline at (628) 652-4311.