Man Charged With Hate Crimes for Allegedly Vandalizing Chinese-Owned Stores With Slingshot

A man was charged with hate crimes in San Francisco for using a slingshot, pipe or hammer to break the windows of 20 businesses that are mostly Chinese-owned, the city's district attorney announced Monday.

Anti-Asian hate
A man in San Francisco was charged with hate crimes for vandalizing Chinese-owned businesses. This March 20 file photo shows U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock speaking during a "Stop Asian Hate" rally outside the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. Ben Gray, File/AP Photo

Derik Barreto, 36, is facing 33 criminal charges in all, according to prosecutors. The charges include 27 counts of vandalism, four counts of second-degree burglary, misdemeanor counts of possessing burglary tools and a concealed weapon and 31 counts of hate crime enhancements.

The hate-crime enhancements were added because Barreto, who was said to ride a kick scooter while committing his crimes, allegedly told police he targeted businesses he believed were Chinese-owned.

"We absolutely do not tolerate violence or hate in San Francisco," District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement. "Chinese-owned businesses should be able to operate without fear of being racially targeted by vandalism, burglary, or harassment. We stand with San Francisco's AAPI community against hate and will do everything in our power to make sure everyone is and feels safe."

Boudin added in his statement, "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a deeply concerning increase in the incidence of hate and violence against the AAPI community. We will not stand for it and we will do everything in our power to stop it."

Barreto is accused of committing these crimes between April and August 2021. The five burglary charges stem from incidents in which officials said Barreto took money and other items after entering inside businesses through windows he shattered.

Hate crimes against people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent reported in the United States have increased dramatically in 2021. On Thursday, Stop AAPI Hate—a national coalition that gathers data on racially motivated attacks related to the pandemic—released a report on racially-motivated incidents committed against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Stop AAPI Hate said it received reports of 9,081 incidents between March 2020, and June 2021. Of those, 4,533 occurred this year, compared to 4,548 in all of last year.

On August 4, an analysis was released from a U.S. Census Bureau survey that found Asian American households were twice as likely as white households to report they didn't have enough food throughout the pandemic because they were "afraid to go or didn't want to go out to buy food."

Hate crimes as a whole increased last year by 2 percent. However, hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders rose by 146 percent, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University.