EXCLUSIVE: SF commissioner-at-large calls for change after brutal assault outside SOMA home

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Saturday, August 6, 2022 2:02AM
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A longtime San Francisco public servant is speaking out for the first time after being brutally attacked across the street from his SOMA home.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A longtime San Francisco public servant is speaking out for the first time after being brutally attacked across the street from his SOMA home.

"I've lived here in this building South of Market for 33 years," says Greg Chew, who points out every landmark surrounding the area of 3rd and Folsom.

Chew's knowledge also comes from decades of public service, having been appointed to the film, immigrant rights, and most recently, the arts and culture commission, by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"Dion, I love the city," says Chew, with a smile.

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But in this city, just one block from his building, he experienced one of the challenges of living in San Francisco.

Tuesday night at around 7:30 as he walked home, out of nowhere Chew was approached by a man.

"He was riding his bike and he actually dropped his bike and assaulted me. I got punched in the face, kicked, beaten," says Chew.

Chew, who is in his 70s can no longer use his left arm, which is now in a sling.

"My shoulder, it could be broken," says Chew.

Chew is in so much pain, that he has not taken off his hospital gown since the attack.

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"I swear to God it was bulging out. He hit me so hard that I... I was down on the ground and facing and I didn't even know what happened," said Chew.

It's this assault coupled with the news of 70-year-old Ren being brutalized and kicked in the face at her home in North Beach this week that has prompted community leaders to rally for change.

"It really hits home this is a serious issue," says Justin Zhu, co-founder of Stand with Asian Americans.

Zhu lives only a few blocks from the housing complex where Ren was assaulted. His group, along with a coalition of seven other groups are gathering Sunday in Washington Square Park at 11:30 a.m., with a new message. One that goes beyond awareness.

"This is the first time we're using the phrase fight Asian hate, not Stop Asian Hate. What is different about this rally is we are demanding specifics from our city, from our government, on changes we would like to see and demands," said Zhu.

While Chew can't say for certain he was targeted for his race, he does have suspicions.

RELATED: 'San Francisco is deteriorating': Asian American victim considers moving out of state after brutal attack

"I was singled out. I was actually singled out," said Chew.

He hopes with his connections in the city and beyond, to use this experience so those in power make lasting change to stop the attacks.

But for now, Chew musters the strength to one day go back outside and focus on the long road of healing ahead.

"Anything I do now I have to be hyper-alert. Thank God it wasn't worse, I'm really lucky, Dion," said Chew.

A GoFundMe to raise funds for private security for Ren's home can be found here and more information on the umbrella group participating in Sunday's rally

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