Charges against a 20-year-old man who was accused of a hate crime in connection with the beating of an elderly Asian victim were withdrawn as part of a “restorative justice” effort by prosecutors in the case.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin made the decision on March 2 in the case against Dwayne Grayson, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin, who was described in a Jacobin profile last year as a “socialist and the child of revolutionaries,” campaigned heavily on a progressive vision of criminal justice reform during the district attorney race.
Grayson was initially charged with robbery, elder abuse, a hate crime charge and probation violation, but Boudin said he changed his mind and pulled back the charges after speaking with the unnamed 68-year-old victim, who “expressed interest in a restorative justice outcome.”
Restorative justice focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and often takes place outside the legal system.
The district attorney’s office told the Chronicle that Boudin will still have the option to file criminal charges if the restorative justice approach fails.
A viral video assault
Grayson allegedly attacked the victim on Feb. 22.
According to a community leader, the victim hails from Kaiping in the Guangdong province of China.
A disturbing video documenting the assault was disseminated widely on social media.
please share this with your friends & family. this is so low, the older man was just trying to make ends meet for his family. he didn’t deserve this. this is ignorant, inhumane, & sickening. i’m praying for this man and his family. if you have any information, please reach out. pic.twitter.com/545xHFwPm4
— nikc (@nicholaaasli) February 24, 2020
One of the men in the video is seen attacking the victim with a broom.
At one point, the man filming shouted “I hate Asians!”
Several of the people in the video appeared to mock the victim as he wept.
Grayson and another man, Jonathan Amerson, 56, were arrested in relation to the assault.
Amerson turned himself in and was booked on charges of robbery and elder abuse.
Authorities said Amerson had robbed the same victim two months before the attack that was captured on video.
“What we saw on that video was horrific. Make no mistake about it,” Police Chief Bill Scott said at the time of Grayson’s arrest. “We heard from people all over the country, not just San Francisco.”
“We don’t tolerate this type of behavior in our city.”