Gascon: Hate crimes on the rise in SF

March 17, 2011 7:15:05 PM PDT
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon says there has been an increase of white supremacist activity in San Francisco with ties to other hate groups nationwide.

Gascon briefed reporters following the arraignments of three people charged with hate crime assaults on two Mexican nationals last November in the Tenderloin.

"We've seen an uptick of activity of people who are associated with white supremacist groups," he said.

Lead Prosecutor Victor Hwang says the two were jumped, beaten and "stomped" by five white men outside a bar on O'Farrell St. shortly before midnight Nov. 10, 2010. Hwang says witnesses heard the assailants yell "white power" and hurl other ethnic slurs as they beat the men. One victim was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. The other was treated and released.

"We have produced information at the preliminary hearing which links them to groups we believe are white supremacist groups," Hwang said.

The Mexican Consulate assisted in bringing one of the victims back from Mexico to testify in court.

"We worked together with the DA and we helped that particular person come back for the whole due process with the support of the consulate," Deputy Mexican Consulate General Jonathon Chait said.

Robert Allen, 38, Anthony Weston, 32, and Justin Meskan, 29 appeared in court this morning before Superior Court Judge Cynthia Mei-Lee. Weston is represented by prominent civil rights lawyer Stu Hanlon. He believes they were all simply involved in a drunken fight.

"And some of the people there in the heat of the battle may have made some statements. I dont know but not Anthony," he said.

All three men pleaded not guilty. Trial is set for April 29.

A source close to the investigation told ABC7 this is just "the tip of the iceberg" and that authorities believe there have been more hate crime attacks which have gone unreported.

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