Last November, two Mexican nationals were brutally beaten in San Francisco by five men who yelled “white power” and made racist comments during the attack. One of the victims was punched and kicked in the face until he blacked out. The other victim was attacked when he tried to intervene to help. Today, three alleged white supremacists were arraigned in connection with the crime.
District Attorney of San Francisco George Gascón warned that what happened may not be an anomaly. At a press conference today, Gascón indicated that his office has witnessed a rise in white supremacist activity in the area:
DA George Gascon confirmed that his office is pursuing the assault as a hate crime. But the issue might be more serious than we think — according to both Gascon and to sources that spoke with ABC7, a recent uptick in local white supremacist activity appears to be linked to national hate groups. […]
Gascon said he found the attack “very uncharacteristic for this city,” but said it has helped the district attorney’s office further understand the presence of white supremacy groups in San Francisco.
He said the investigation has revealed an increase in local white supremacist activity, mostly coming from people living outside of San Francisco. He declined to go into detail so as to not compromise the case.
Watch the local ABC7 report:
Gascón also indicated that there has been a rise in local hate crimes. The number of hate crimes prosecuted in San Francisco doubled from 2009 to 2010. Gascón stated that there is “a great likelihood that there are other victims we are not aware of” who have been targeted in a hate crime.
Meanwhile, one of the victims was so traumatized by the attack that he returned to Mexico due to “concerns about their safety more than concerns about their immigration status.” SF Weekly claims that there “a silver lining to this alleged hate crime.” According to the paper, “it’s that the Mexican victims now have a possible path to become legal residents.” The U visa provides victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility. The San Francisco Police Department reportedly signed about150 applications in 2010.