Second suspect in viral attack video pleads not guilty to robbery, elder abuse charges

A man facing charges for the robbery of a man’s recyclables in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood – an incident that was captured on camera – made his initial court appearance Tuesday.

Jonathan Amerson, 56, is being charged with robbery and elder abuse in connection with the robbery of a 68-year-old man on Feb. 22 at a San Francisco Housing Authority complex on Osceola Lane.

Amerson pleaded not guilty to his charges and is scheduled to return to court on March 13. He remains in custody and is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail, according to jail records. He surrendered himself to police on Sunday, police said.

In addition to the Feb. 22 incident, police said Amerson allegedly robbed the same victim of his recycling materials two months ago in the same area.

In the video, which was widely shared on social media, suspects appear to rob the victim, who is Asian, of a cart of recyclables. During the alleged robbery, several bystanders appear to film and taunt the victim, and at least one person can be heard saying, “I hate Asians.”

Although the victim was struck in the head during the alleged robbery, police said he was not hospitalized. Last week, police announced they arrested a different suspect in the case, identified as 20-year-old Dewayne Grayson. Grayson allegedly filmed the incident and uploaded it to social media, police said.

According to the District Attorney’s Office spokesman Alex Bastian, Grayson is not being charged for now and will instead be placed in a restorative justice program, at the victim’s request.

“We’ve been in conversation with victim who expressed a restorative justice outcome, especially for the young person who videoed the incident,” Bastian said. “We respect our victim and their desires and are exploring a restorative justice outcome for this case, however, if that does not work out, we do have the option to bring this case to the courtroom.”

In a statement, Grayson’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Danielle Harris, said Grayson appeared to be pleased with the decision.

“Dewayne Grayson is 20 years old and an alumnus of SF’s public schools. Dewayne is growing everyday and learning from his mistakes. Dewayne does not know any of the other persons involved in the events that bring him into this spotlight and has no ill feelings toward any of them. He is excited to take part in this restorative justice program, particularly with others who live and/or work in the Bayview-Hunters Point community he calls home,” she said.

Amerson’s attorney, Alexandria Carl, was not immediately available for comment.

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