Oakland residents, merchants angry over beating

April 19, 2010 6:39:04 PM PDT
A San Francisco father remains on life support as Oakland police search for clues in what is being described as an unprovoked beating.

It happened Friday afternoon on Telegraph Avenue and the assault has left both residents and merchants very angry.

It was a brutal attack on a father and son who were shopping in one of Oakland's up-and-coming neighborhoods. Uptown is a part of town in one of the country's most violent cities, where people say they feel safe.

"Seems good. Nice quiet area," says Oakland resident Rick Johnson.

Police still have not identified the two suspects, but they do have surveillance video taken just moments after the assault.

Oakland homicide investigators are on the case as the 59-year-old San Francisco father clings to life. Jin Yu was punched in the face while his father parked their car. When his father went back to ask the men why, he was also beaten.

"It makes it look bad," Johnson says. "When I told people I was moving to Oakland, they were like, 'Oakland?' ...just like all of Oakland's bad in their eyes."

Uptown is home to hip new housing, a vibrant nightlife, and it has the newly-refurbished Fox Theater as an anchor. Uptown is one of several Oakland neighborhoods where businesses have agreed to come together to pay for fees that keep the area clean and hopefully, safe.

"It doesn't matter what neighborhood. Just the fact that it's Oakland, people think that everywhere is bad," says security ambassador Randy Lee.

Lee patrols the streets in the neighborhood and says the recent changes have been for the better.

"This is a good place to bring your family, to eat, to shop," he says.

But, after what happened, some people who live and work in the area now look over their shoulders even though they never used to.

"We don't feel safe at all," says resident Doris Cheng.

Carl Wharton manages an Uptown pawn shop. He hopes this is not a permanent stain for Oakland. He and other merchants cannot afford it.

"Let's face it. Every place has got its own problems," he says. "Just come on down and enjoy us, and visit us. Oakland's OK."


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