Man who attacked 84-year-old in SF earlier this year released, community members rally over decision

Ramos-Hernandez was also arrested and convicted of a trespassing misdemeanor in Santa Clara County

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Friday, December 3, 2021
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According to court documents, the suspect spent seven months in jail, then was released on mental health diversion. During his releases, ABC7 News learned he was arrested and convicted of a trespassing misdemeanor in Santa Clara County.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A man seen on camera kicking an 84-year-old man out of a seated walker made a return to court Thursday after being let out on mental health diversion.

"The words restorative justice have been weaponized to silence a victim of hate," cried one of the demonstrators outside the Hall of Justice Thursday afternoon. Members of groups such as Asians Are Strong, Stop AAPI Hate, career prosecutor Nancy Tung and the United Peace Collaborative met with dozens of community members to express how they believe the San Francisco District Attorney's Office handled Mr. Rong Xin Liao's Case.

Video broken by ABC7 back in March of 2021 shows Mr. Liao kicked out of his seated walker in the Tenderloin by 24-year old Eric Ramos-Hernandez.

Liao suffered injuries which required multiple stitches, along with serious head injuries and a blood clot which required drilling into his skull. According to court documents, Ramos-Hernandez spent seven months in jail. He has been released on mental health diversion.

A victims services advocate for the DA's office claimed Liao, who speaks only Cantonese, wanted it for his perpetrator -- something his family says is simply not true.

"When they wanted to reach out, it is only because of the story you did," says grandson Jack Liao.

GRAPHIC WARNING: EXCLUSIVE: 84-year old Asian man warns others year after brutal San Francisco attack

Mr. Liao also said in our exclusive interview in March he wanted a "strict punishment" for his attacker.

The DA's office told ABC7's Dion Lim in a statement on Thursday that an interpreter was always available and that they "were not aware of the 'misunderstanding" until months later.

"I asked him point blank myself and my dad asked as well, and he said he never said anything close to that," said Jack Liao.

ABC7 News learned in court on Thursday, after his release, Ramos-Hernandez was arrested and convicted of a trespassing misdemeanor in Santa Clara County.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: SF woman narrowly misses attack after senior, teen punched in the head along same street

The DA's office told ABC7 News in a statement that, because of this, they requested the court terminate the mental health diversion.

Liao's grandson Jack alleges the district attorney's office never alerted his family of any developments in the case until Ramos-Hernandez was released. Documents show the DA's office did make contact with the Liao family a number of times. Though the log so heavily redacted, details could not be read.

Liao spoke to us outside the Hall of Justice expressing his gratitude for the community's support.

"He says he's really happy and really emotional to see everyone support him today," said an interpreter.

Inside as Ramos-Hernandez hung his head, Liao emotionally described how the attack has made him fearful to go outside and how he has lost his independence and is considering to move back to China because he feels so unsafe in San Francisco.

RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senior citizen, 14-year-old girl punched in head in unprovoked attacks in San Francisco

Those in the packed courtroom also heard about Liao's history of living in Guangzhou, and because of his work, had to be separated from his family for 15 years. He ultimately came to America for a better life.

Judge Charles Compton said he would not be making a decision on Ramos-Hernandez until he's medically evaluated.

"I watched the video several times. You didn't provoke it (the attack) or expect it and you didn't deserve it. I know you're still suffering physically and emotionally," the judge said.

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He went on to say Liao's statements were important to his decision but there were parts of California law he also needed to abide by in determining a punishment.

ABC7 News asked Jack Liao how he felt about the decision. "I'm disappointed but I'm not surprised especially by the way the DA wants to play this."

Ramos-Hernandez will be evaluated for mental health diversion in San Francisco. The next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 7.