San Francisco

Elderly Man Faces Alleged Attacker in San Francisco Courtroom

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Nearly two years after he was viciously attacked in San Francisco, an elderly Asian man faces his alleged attacker in court and speaks out. Audrey Asistio reports.

Nearly two years after he was viciously attacked in San Francisco, an elderly Asian man faced his alleged attacker in court and spoke out on Thursday.

84-year-old Rong Xin Liao got emotional moments before walking into the San Francisco Hall of Justice Thursday.

A Cantonese interpreter said that Liao is overwhelmed and thankful to everyone who came out to rally and support him before reading an impact statement at the behavioral health hearing for his accused attacker 24-year-old Eric Ramos Hernandez.

Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom on Thursday, but Liao's supporters attended as many of them saw Hernandez in person.

The incident happened on February 2020, when surveillance video captured the moment Hernandez accused of viciously attacking Liao.

In one part of the video, Liao was sitting in his wheelchair, waiting for a bus, in San Francisco when a Hernandez runs up to him, kicks him to the ground, then runs off.

Hernandez now faces elder abuse charges. He has been in custody for months before being put into a mental health diversion program.

Sylvia Cediel, Hernandez’s lawyer said on doesn’t that her client doesn't belong in jail.

“This incident of last year was not racially motivated but rather, from his untreated mental health issues,” she said.

But, Liao urged the judge to give Hernandez a more severe consequence as he said the attack has left him living in fear and still suffering physically and emotionally.

Liao's supporters said that continued attacks on Asians and Asian Americans need to end and they added that they feel Liao-has been victimized twice.

“Liao was attacked by a low life criminal and then bullied by the DA's office. He was not given the adequate resources and was misrepresented,” said

The judge didn't decide Thursday whether Hernandez should stay in jail or in a mental health diversion program.

He plans to make a final decision during the next hearing on Dec. 7.