A San Francisco Muni bus was the scene for the latest assault against a member of the Asian American Pacific Islander community.
The incident happened at a bus stop where a group of teenagers got out and ran after assaulting a 58-year-old Asian woman, who was simply riding the bus.
Another woman who saw it decided to speak out because she said something must change.
“It’s a little bit unnerving,” she said.
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The witness asked NBC Bay Area to conceal her identity, out of the fear she too could be the target of an attack. But what the witness saw she said she just can’t shake.
“A woman came running from the back towards the driver saying that she was being bothering and she wanted them off the bus,” she said.
According to the witness, a couple of the teenagers got upset, yelling at the woman. They also asked her why she was snitching, used profanity and then at one point, two of boys that they were with starting egging them and spit on her.
She told NBC Bay Area that things escalated quickly.
“One of the girls started swinging at lady and the driver did his best, he was trying to protect the passenger, get in between them and that’s when two other girls started swinging as well,” the witness said.
San Francisco police tell NBC Bay Area they detained two teenage girls matching the description of the suspects. But both girls have since been released to the custody of their parents, pending further investigation.
The witness believes the attack was race related.
“That bus line it runs through Japan Town and a lot of the riders are predominantly Asian on that line,”she said.
The incident comes as Asian community groups warn some people might be using social media to urge others to target Asians specifically Asians on public transit.
“I would hate to say so, but after seeing what’s been transpiring in the last few weeks. it does feel like it is racially motivated.
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) officials said they are working on proactive measures to make things safer including working alongside San Francisco police to better monitor and respond to incidents.
SFMTA added they are also sending out messaging to operators on how to best respond to violence and criminal activity on the muni. They are developing a PSA campaign aboard muni buses to bring awareness to the issue and pledge support for the AAPI community.