San Francisco police investigating possible hate crime in Western Addition

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco police are investigating after two men say they were the target of a hate crime in Western Addition.

San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair draws locals and tourists celebrating being bold and different. Neil Frias and Jeff White made the trip from New York this year. But it's what happened the night before, that's still unsettling.

"When I walked out there was a van and they started yelling at him, and I was like 'leave us alone,'" said Neil Frias, New York City resident.

"As I am waiting outside, I just start getting verbally assaulted. Being called, every name that you can with a negative connotation," said Jeff White, New York City resident.

The guys came to a McDonald's in the Western Addition neighborhood for a bite to eat and that's when they say the name calling started and then it turned into pepper spraying. All of it taking place across the street from the police station.

The New Yorkers never expected to be hate crime victims in a city known for tolerance and acceptance.

"They were like 'do you not understand? We have values here. We have family values here. There are children here, you don't belong here,'" said Frias.

Frias says the five guys in a minivan continued yelling homophobic slurs.

When the one guy comes up to me and I thought he was going to take a swing. Then he starts spraying me with a can of Mace. And that's when two other guys come out of the car, one goes after him," said Frias.

Officers from the Northern Station responded but the suspects drove off. Now detectives are reviewing surveillance footage. Frias and White are determined to not let it ruin their trip or change their love for San Francisco.

"The city itself has character," said White.

If convicted, the suspects face assault charges with a hate crime enhancement, which could result in a state prison sentence.
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