SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — San Francisco police and the SFMTA are investigating after a man on a Muni bus yelled racial slurs at passengers and threw eggs at them. He’s allegedly done it before with a different food item.
Michelle Young snapped photos on her whirlwind 30-hour trip to San Francisco. She calls herself a transit enthusiast and even has a website that documents her travels.
“I do make it an effort in any city to make sure that I try the transit system and I really love buses,” said Young.
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She says it’s the best way to see a city, but her love of buses turned into a hate-filled ride on Thursday.
On the 38 bus somewhere around Geary and Divisadero, she says a man started throwing eggs and racial slurs.
“He starts with stupid Chinese expletive,” said Young.
Young says he was clearly looking for a fight.
“I could tell just from his body gesture and the way he was speaking that he was unstable,” said Young.
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She says another passenger stepped in.
“He said something to the effect of ‘Stop, you don’t need to do that,”‘ she said. “I thanked him and he said better me than you which was a really nice thing to say.”
She says he took the brunt of the eggs.
“He ends up throwing it at a pretty fast pace, almost like a baseball,” said Young.
Even off the bus, the man continued to hurl eggs at the windows as passengers closed them, many including Young with egg now in their hair.
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“And then he comes running from the corner back to the bus and when he sees me he throws it straight into the window,” said Young.
Sadly, she says this is the third time in a third city since the pandemic that she’s experienced hatred like this.
“Asian Americans, we’re on much higher alert than we’ve ever been and so it has made me rethink how I move around the city, which is sad because public spaces belong to everybody and we should all feel safe,” said Young.
Young decided this time, to take cell phone video and to put the video on Twitter. She never expected to hear from other San Franciscans saying the same thing happened to them on the same bus line.
Wendy Zhang says a cheese-throwing hate filled tirade happened Christmas morning while she was on the bus.
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“I was mostly mad because I thought it just like happened randomly to me but it looks like this is not his first time doing it and it looks like he’s not going to stop, and it’s going to get worse and worse,” said Zhang.
“I said no way. I couldn’t believe that the MO appears to be racial epithets plus food throwing together,” said Young.
SFMTA said in a statement:
“We are committed to doing everything we can to stop the racist attacks on the AAPI community that have been on the increase over the past few years. Just this week alone, Muni riders, staff and colleagues from other transit agencies been victims of this deplorable behavior. We take all reported incidents seriously and work with SFPD, sharing video from our stations and vehicles to aid in their investigations. Any harassment or abuse against our passengers and staff is utterly unacceptable. We will investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law any individuals responsible for these heinous attacks. Throughout the past year, we have worked diligently to improve Muni safety including, but not limited to:
Increased the staff presence on Muni vehicles, which is a visual deterrent against crime and other disturbances.
At Muni stations, station agents monitor video footage from cameras that are set up throughout the station and take action when there’s an emergency.
We have 23 Muni transit ambassadors in the field who ride specific Muni routes to assist customers, defuse and deter any conflicts, prevent acts of vandalism and assist bus operators.
Each bus is equipped with at least 11 cameras that are recording any time the bus is running. In multiple instances, this video footage enabled the police to identify and arrest people who perpetrated crimes.
To prevent and reduce gender-based harassment, we launched MuniSafe, a campaign to make sure customers know that gender-based harassment and violence are absolutely not tolerated on Muni.
There is no excuse for this type of behavior. If you are experiencing or witnessing an emergency on Muni, do not hesitate to call 911.”
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When SFMTA saw Young’s tweet on Thursday, they asked her to file a report with them. She did, but let SFMTA know she encountered bugs on their website and couldn’t upload her video.
“So they’re missing out on a lot of reporting of incidents just due to a tech thing,” said Young.
An SFPD Investigator tells the I-Team, victims should also file with SFPD directly so their case can be investigated.
“I do hope they find this guy since he appears to be a serial offender in a similar way and he may be riding the same line everyday, and that line does go through a bunch of Asian communities within San Francisco,” said Young.
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