KRON4 - An arrest has now been made in what authorities investigated the Feb. 16 incident that happened around 9:30 a.m. as a hate crime. Joseph Benjamin, 44, was arrested last Friday, the San Francisco Police Department announced Thursday in a press release.
One of the victims was Michelle Young. “So he said stupid Chinese ****h and then I believe he repeated himself and we didn’t respond,” Young, who was visiting San Francisco, told KRON4.
According to SFPD, Benjamin is believed to have been involved in at least two more incidents on Muni — making it a total of three he is linked to.
Another Muni rider says Benjamin threw food at her back last December. The victim also claims the suspect made derogatory comments about her ethnicity and gender.
SFPD also reported on Feb. 13 a Muni driver was assaulted. The driver told police one of his passengers was spit on and used “threatening language,” the press release said. The driver, an Asian man, told the suspect to leave the bus, and the suspect spewed hateful language and spit on him before fleeing the scene.
Benjamin was arrested over two months later in the Tenderloin on the 500 block of Jones Street. He was booked into San Francisco County Jail on two counts of battery committed against a transportation worker or passenger and two counts of hate crime– all misdemeanors.
Benjamin is also charged with three counts of violation of individuals’ civil rights.
As of Thursday afternoon, Benjamin is out of custody following an arrangement earlier that day, according to SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. Benjamin is required to stay away from the victims and the 38 and 38R Muni bus lines.
Jenkins said the suspect faces up to seven years in state prison if convicted of all charges.
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