SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the early cases in San Francisco's wave of anti-Asian crime finally reached court Tuesday - a 21-year-old Daly City man charged with killing an elderly immigrant from Thailand with one brutal shove to the ground.
Eighty-four-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee headed out on his morning walk in the Anza Vista neighborhood in January of last year. He was small, thin, and nearly blind when Antoine Watson allegedly sprinted at him, knocking him to the ground.
The prosecutor says Watson appeared to celebrate, then returned to take cellphone pictures as Ratanapakdee bled on the ground.
His family, friends and supporters have been holding rallies like this one Tuesday outside San Francisco's Hall of Justice, pressing authorities to charge this as a hate crime.
Neighbor Vanita Louie told the crowd, "So we hope that the courts do the right thing. They should know what the right thing is."
As they crowded into court for the preliminary hearing, the family had seen that video many times; still there were audible gasps and tears when the prosecutor played it as evidence, and as the first witnesses to arrive at the crime scene described Vicha still alive, struggling to get up.
Vicha's daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, told the I-Team: "Yeah, it's been 500 days today since he passed away. It's heartbreaking, you know, I'm still feeling like my father is still with me. I think of my father every day."
We also heard from the man who took that video. The hearing is high interest to people from the neighborhood.
Vanita Louie told ABC7, "Anza Vista and a lot of other neighborhoods in San Francisco should be safe, but there is a lot of fear that has set in. We're just here to gather and hope that justice will come out of this."
The prosecutor tells the I-Team's Dan Noyes the prelim should last through Friday. We'll find out how police identified Antoine Watson, that they detained him earlier that morning for a hit-and-run.
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