Stop Asian Hate

San Francisco case that launched Stop Asian Hate finally gets trial date

By Gilda Balan, Correspondent

SAN FRANCISCO – A high-profile case considered as the spark that gave birth to the Stop Asian Hate movement finally moves forward with the trial date set for early next year.

In January of 2021, Thai American Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, was violently shoved to the ground while exercising near his home. The assault, caught on camera, proved fatal for the immigrant.

The incident took place at the Anza Vista neighborhood and it made national news, eventually resulting in the creation of the Stop Asian Hate movement, according to a news report written by Han Li of the San Francisco Standard.

Community activists remember the victim as “Grandpa Vicha,” and a street was renamed after him in 2022.

 To this day, activists in the community remember Ratanapakdee as “Grandpa Vicha,” and in 2022, San Francisco renamed a street in his honor.

The suspect was apprehended after the attack and has remained in custody.

Identified as Antoine Watson, 22, he has been charged with murder and elder abuse. His defense attorney from the Public Defender’s Office argues that Watson had no intention to kill and was under mental stress.

During a court hearing last week, a San Francisco judge agreed to reconvene in February, 2024 to set a trial date. It will most likely commence in March, well over 1,000 days after the fatal assault.

The victim’s daughter, Monthanus Ratanapakdee, has expressed frustration at the long delay in the case. She said: “The delay in justice, as witnesses’ memories are vanishing, is exasperating.”

Monthanus is preparing for the three-year anniversary of the attack to commemorate her father’s death.

The prosecutor and defense attorney previously pointed accusing fingers at each other for the long delay, saying more time was needed for the investigation.

The Standard news report said the case gathered much media attention, while Ratanapakdee “has become the de facto face of the Stop Asian Hate movement” that raised awareness of anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.

(This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American )