The suspect accused of assaulting multiple Asian people in the Polk Gulch neighborhood in San Francisco has pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges. 43-year-old Emmi Lopez, a transgender homeless woman who police initially identified as Michael, is currently being held without bail, reports NBC Bay Area News.
The incident occurred on Monday before 8 am on Polk and Clay Streets. The suspect allegedly followed and threatened a couple of Asian females before throwing a rock at them when they fled. During this time, a bystander, Simon Lau called the police and the suspect turned her attention on him. Lau in return pepper-sprayed her which caused her to grab a broomstick and allegedly utter “I’ll cut you! I’ll kill you!”
The suspect then went over to a sleeping homeless person and allegedly attacked the man. Another person intervened and that person was also allegedly assaulted by the suspect.
All the victims were Asians.
The suspect was later arrested by police. She allegedly had in her possession methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Her defense lawyer, Semuteh Freeman told the judge that her client suffered from drug and mental health issues and was pepper-sprayed and outnumbered at the time. Emmi Lopez denied the assault, battery, and drug charges against her.
Police have not filed a hate crime charge against her but are looking into it.
“Though the victims said that no hate speech was uttered, investigators are working to determine if racial bias was a motivating factor,” the San Francisco police said.