SF business owner punched in face by man urinating outside shop frustrated by lack of 'consequences'

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Friday, July 21, 2023
SF business owner punched in face by man urinating outside his shop
Three months after opening Sandy's, Peterson Harter says he was punched by a man urinating outside of his sandwich shop in the Haight-Ashbury.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Three months after opening Sandy's, Peterson Harter was assaulted while closing the security gates of his sandwich shop in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

"I was in the process of closing. So, I'm kind of defenseless because my hands are here and he just comes down and pops me like that. That is why I have a hit from here down. Chipped my tooth a little bit here too," said Peterson Harter, Sandy's owner.

His black eye tells a story of frustration. His story now reaching thousands of people on social media. He says it all happened after he confronted a person urinating outside his shop.

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"I just got punched in the face by a guy that was pissing on the street. I can't believe I live in a city where people can just piss in the street and punch you in the face and get away with it," said Harter on Instagram.

During our interview, Harter said he was upset to see the perpetrator walk away.

"He just walked away and I think that's going to be a thing that scars me. It's the fact that he just walked off, like no consequences," said Harter.

In a statement, SFPD said in part: "Officers processed the scene for evidence and authored an incident report. No arrests have been made. This is an open and active investigation."

After posting what happened on social media, Harter said he received multiple messages of San Francisco residents and business owners with similar stories.

"I want someone to be empathetic and understand what we are going through. I don't feel like you see that and I think that's the frustrating part. It's not just me. It's a lot of people going through this on a daily basis. This is nothing," said Harter.

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We walked around Haight-Ashbury to speak to business owners and workers and the feedback was complicated. The co-owner of Vegan Burg said he is also frustrated.

"I feel like there is more potential somewhere outside of San Francisco," said Henry Quesada, co-owner of Vegan Burg and added, "It's being a slow gradual increase in crime."

Employees at Derby San Francisco said people watch each other's back here.

"Usually people don't get as aggressive as that one time, but if there is people that are being that way there's people in charge that we can call," said Edith Mariscal, employee at Derby of San Francisco.

"The pepper spray we usually keep it here in case something happens but luckily we've never had to use it," said Melanie Noguera, employee at Derby of San Francisco.

Haight-Ashbury's Merchants Association said their community ambassador help keep the area safe, but what sets them apart is the sense of community.

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"If anything, incidents like this just bring our community closer," said Sunshine Powers, board member of Haight-Ashbury Merchants Association.

Community is what encourages Harter to keep opening his doors despite the black eye.

"It's the community of people. The other business owners have supported us. The neighbors have supported us and I want to highlight that, said Harter.

Harter said he want's something positive to come out of this. He is considering getting other business owners together to brainstorm ideas to help the city and help each other.

As to the person who punched him - Harter doesn't want him in jail. This is what he wants instead, "I would like to see him be held accountable for his actions, but for me I would like him to do 100 hours of community service on Haight Street so I can see him actually picking up and cleaning up and not being part of the problem. Being part of the solution."

SFPD's full statement: "On Wednesday, July 19, 2023, at approximately 5:31 p.m., San Francisco Police officers from Park Station responded to the 1400 block of Haight Street for a report of a battery. Officers arrived on scene and located a 39-year-old male victim. The victim told officers that he was closing up a local business when he got into a verbal altercation with an unknown male suspect. The suspect then violently struck the victim in the face with an unknown object and immediately fled the scene on foot."

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