Second suspect arrested in attack on elderly man captured on video

Community group soliciting donations for victim exceeds $20K goal

A second suspect has been arrested in connection with an attack on a low-income senior who was struck over the head with a pole and ridiculed while recycling cans in the Bayview.

Jonathan Amerson, a 56-year-old resident of San Francisco, was arrested at around 11:30 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of two counts robbery and elder abuse after surrendering himself to authorities, police said.

Amerson was allegedly captured on video robbing the senior of his cans while a crowd watched near a public housing complex in the area of Osceola Lane and La Salle Avenue, according to police.

Police say Amerson also allegedly robbed the same victim of his cans two months earlier in the same area.

The video went viral and drew condemnation on social media and from elected officials who gathered at the scene last Thursday to call for unity between the black and Asian communities.

Supervisor Shamann Walton speaks as city leaders call for unity and healing at a news conference on Osceola Lane following an assault on an elderly Chinese man at the same spot in the Bayview District on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

“We call for community unity and solidarity at this time,” Supervisor Shamann Walton said at the rally. “Because in San Francisco, we bring people together, we build bridges and we bridge the gaps that divide.”

The attack is being investigated as a possible hate crime because a man can be heard in the video saying “I hate Asians.”

On Sunday, a community organization soliciting donations for the victim exceeded its fundraising goal of $20,000.

The Community Youth Center had collected nearly $29,000 as of Sunday evening through the online fundraiser.

In an interview with KPIX, a community worker with CYC described the victim as a “proud” man who recently immigrated from China and collects cans for a living rather than accepting benefits or social services.

But the victim apparently had a change of heart about recieving donations through the online fundraiser.

“After discussions with the family and relaying the community’s messages of support, the family has decided to graciously accept donations through CYC,” reads the GoFundMe page. “The funds raised through this campaign will go to help the family financially with rent, utilities, and other bills.”

The victim is said to live in the Bayview with his wife, an In-Home Supportive Services worker who cares for seniors.

Police previously made an arrest in the case last week.

Dwayne Grayson, 20, was booked on suspicion of felony robbery and elder abuse with a hate crime enhancement.

Grayson allegedly recorded the incident and posted the video to social media. He remained at in custody Sunday.

This story has been updated.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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