Man charged in SF attack of 88-year-old woman connected to 2021 assault in Oakland, police say

Luz Pena Image
Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Man charged in SF attack of 88-year-old connected to 2021 assault
An Oakland man accused of attacking an 88-year-old San Francisco woman near Union Square made his first court appearance.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday, an Oakland man accused of attacking an 88-year-old San Francisco woman near Union Square made his first court appearance.

James Lee Ramsey, 27, was charged in connection to the unprovoked brutal attack.

"When we reviewed the video footage, as-well as the other evidence gathered, this is a clear assault on an 88-year-old innocent woman who was simply walking down the street. Who was violently attacked and now is in a fight for her life," said San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins.

DA Jenkins confirmed she is looking into Ramsey's criminal history. He could face around 10 years in prison.

"Our decision to charge was based strictly on the evidence associated with this incident that occurred on Friday, not with anything prior to that," said Jenkins.

In 2021, Ramsey attacked community leader Carl Chan from behind.

"I'm not surprised at all that he went out and attacked an elderly lady. We are very sad to see another innocent victim," said Chan.

MORE: President of Oakland's Chinatown Chamber of Commerce attacked on way to visit with assault victim

Oakland's Chinatown Chamber of Commerce president says he was attacked in the city's downtown on Thursday afternoon.

According to Alameda County court documents, in 2021, Ramsey pleaded no contest to felony assault.

"He should have been placed in a long-term mental health care facility, where he would likely still be today and this incident wouldn't have happened. But we keep responding with short-term jail or prison," said Cat Brooks, Executive Director for the Anti-Police Terror Project.

For multiple years, The Anti-Police Terror Project said they've been working to get Ramsey mental health help. Ramsey was even featured in a New York Times essay about mental health.

"We are deeply saddened that this happened. We are equally angry that we are here because we tried as the Anti-police Terror Project to get James Ramsey help. He has multiple mental health issues that have been compounded by substance abuse and the fact that he is unhoused," said Brooks.

In the assault case in 2021, Cat Brooks said Ramsey asked the court for behavioral treatment.

"He will not be in prison for the rest of his life. He will do a significant amount of years where his mental health issues will be exacerbated and then he will be spit back out into our streets," said Brooks.

On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty and no bail was set.

"At this time, I have no information to offer regarding his mental health status. Very fresh case that just occurred on Friday. We have a lot to look into," said DA Jenkins.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live