As he was waiting to cross the street with his child in a stroller last Friday afternoon, the man was knocked to the ground and punched repeatedly.
“I was right on the ground and in that exact second, I was trying to shield my head and prevent any worse injuries. I couldn’t protect my child. I was on the floor and he was in a stroller that was slowly rolling away, so it’s definitely very scary as a parent,” the man told local TV station KGO.
He added: “My sense of security has been shattered.”
The man, a 36-year-old only identified as “Bruce” by KGO, said that the thought that the attack could have been racially motivated crossed his mind, particularly because of the arbitrary nature of the assault and because there has been a rise in attacks on Asian Americans over the last year.
Police identified the alleged attacker as 26-year-old Sidney Hammond. He attacked from behind, leading to Bruce falling to the pavement, according to the police report. Mr Hammond continued to punch the father before patrolling police officers intervened.
Police said Bruce was treated for injuries at the scene that were not life-threatening. Law enforcement also said the attack was random and not likely motivated by anti-Asian sentiments, SF Gate reported.
Police added that Mr Hammond is in jail and has been charged with assault, false imprisonment, and child endangerment. KGO reported that Mr Hammond was arrested less than a month ago after an assault and for stealing in the same location. The assault took place outside Gus’s Community Market in San Francisco.
Bruce told KGO he wants his attacker to “be somewhere where he can’t harm anyone else or if he needs help he can get the help he needs”.
Nani Tsegaye, a San Francisco business owner who has experienced break-ins and robberies, called the crimes “heartbreaking”.
She told KGO: “We just expect something to happen now more than we expected before.”
Vas Kirinis, director of San Francisco’s Fillmore Merchant’s Association, said: “The city needs to demonstrate that we are safe and clean and fun to be in again. Safety is of the utmost importance for us running out businesses so we really need to address this.”