San Francisco police make arrest in robbery, abuse of elderly Asian man collecting cans

This is one of those stories I noticed in the background. Last weekend a 68-year-old Asian man who was collecting cans was robbed by another man who took his cart full of aluminum. On top of the robbery, the man was mocked and harassed by several other people, including one moron who filmed the incident and posted it online. Another person saw the clip and circulated it online calling it “ignorant, inhumane, & sickening.”

Several people tagged the San Francisco Police Department and they launched an investigation and asked the public for assistance identifying the victim:

That was Tuesday. Wednesday the police announced he had been identified:

And Thursday, the police made an arrest:

The police statement identifies the aforementioned moron as Dwayne Grayson. He is now facing serious charges including robbery, elder abuse and a hate crime enhancement:

The incident took place on the Unit block of Osceola Lane on Saturday, February 22nd 2020 at approximately 5:30 PM. The victim, a 68-year-old male, was struck on the back of the head. He had a complaint of pain but no visible injury. The loss was a cart full of recyclables.

On February 27, 2020, at approximately 8:15 AM, SFPD officers took 20-year-old Dwayne Grayson into custody in front of his residence on the 100 block of Kirkwood Avenue. He was booked at Bayview Police Station on the charges of robbery, elder abuse, a probation violation for a prior robbery conviction and a hate crime enhancement. Grayson was the individual who also recorded and posted the incident on social media. The booking photo from his 2019 arrest accompanies this news release.

Police are still looking for the other man seen swinging a stick at the victim’s head in the video. During a press conference announcing the first arrest Police Chief Bill Scott said he expected a second arrest would happen soon. Chief Scott also said his office had “heard from people all over the country” about the incident. He praised the community effort to identify the victim and help find the men responsible.

Finally, it’s important to point out that as disgusting as the behavior in that video is, it’s not representative of the people living in that neighborhood according to the victim. KPIX interviewed Tommy Wong, a man who knows the victim. He said the reason the elderly man goes to that neighborhood is that people there are nice to him. Some even collect their cans to give to him when he shows up. That’s why he had such a big collection when he was robbed. “Even this morning he went out,” Wong said, adding, “He was not afraid because he knows the [people in the] neighborhood are kind to him. They are good people.”

As for the victim himself, he hasn’t been identified but Wong said he’s from China and has been living in the area for six years with his wife. When KPIX asked Wong how people who wanted to help the victim could do so, Wong described the victim as a “proud” old man who had never asked for or taken any benefits. He collects cans because he wants to be self-sufficient.

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