SAN FRANCISCO—After a viral video of an elderly Asian man being robbed and abused was uploaded to social media on February 23, one of the suspects in the case, Dwayne Grayson, 20, had charges dropped against him.
Grayson and Jonathan Amerson, 56, were arrested within a week after the video was posted. Grayson, who recorded the video, was arrested on February 27 and charged with robbery, elder abuse, hate crime enhancement and a probation violation for a prior robbery.
Following a discussion with the 68-year-old victim of the incident, San Francisco’s District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, decided to drop the charges in favor of “restorative justice” at the victim’s desire.
Restorative justice was part of Boudin’s campaign in 2019 in hopes of creating a “safer and more just San Francisco.” The program can be instigated by any person involved in the crime from victim to offender to the community and families of each party.
Boudin’s plan intends to make offenders not only acknowledge the harm of their crime, but take action and responsibility in working to fix the harm caused. The victim of the crime is intended to guide this part of the restorative process. They can offer the offender the ability to restitute their actions through a variety of ways including obtaining employment or further education.
It is unclear if either the victim or Boudin are seeking restorative justice for the second suspect. According to reports, Amerson turned himself in to the Bayview Police Station at 11:30 a.m. on March 1. He was charged with two counts of both robbery and elder abuse for his recent crime and an incident from 2 months ago when he committed the same crime against the victim.
Grayson can still be charged with his role in the crime. The San Francisco Police Department is still investigating the case.