S.F. man to stand trial in death of Thai man, 84

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man accused of killing an 84-year-old Thai grandfather in an attack that galvanized Asian Americans and helped spur a successful recall of the city’s liberal prosecutor was ordered to stand trial, a judge ruled June 17.

The assault on Vicha Ratanapakdee in January 2021 further crushed Asians in America already frightened by a surge of attacks against members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, particularly seniors.

Video footage played during witness testimony last week shows Antoine Watson sprinting across a street and knocking down Ratanapakdee, who was out on his usual morning walk. He died two days later.

Anita Nabha, Watson’s attorney, said he appeared distressed after a stressful encounter with police hours earlier and may not have known the man was elderly, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Ratanapakdee’s death was one of the stated reasons behind the successful recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. Recall proponents said that the liberal prosecutor did not take crimes against Asians seriously, a sentiment disputed by opponents of the recall.

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