Investigation underway after Muni bus driver attacked with bat

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – New information about a Muni bus driver attacked with a bat in San Francisco last week.

A Transit Union representative says racial slurs were also made by the three suspects against the 42-year-old victim, who is Asian.

While a union representative says anti-Asian slurs were made at the Muni driver during the attack, on Monday San Francisco police told KRON4 they’re not investigating this as a hate crime.

Now the attack may be changing the behaviors of some drivers.

KRON4 is now learning allegations an attacker used a racial slur against a Muni bus driver before beating the 42-year-old victim.

“The threat is real and the threat is out there. This is just one of many assaults that happen literally on a daily basis,” Marenco said.

President of the San Francisco Transport Workers Union, Roger Marenco, says these attacks happen too often but it’s even more disturbing learning that one of the suspects made comments about the victim’s race.

“There were some racial slurs that were used against the operator. It was a miniature bat that the people used to assault him with. The operator ended up with a fractured finger, some bruises, and pain everywhere when he was assaulted. He was also punched and spat on,” Marenco said.

San Francisco police say the beating happened around 11th and Division Streets Wednesday afternoon after the Muni driver repeatedly asked three men on the bus to put on a mask and then stopped the bus when they refused.

As the victim escorted the riders off the bus, Marenco says that’s when one of the suspects made racial slurs at the Asian driver, then spit on him and beat him with a wooden bat.

Marenco says the attack may make some drivers reluctant to enforce the health order that requires passengers to wear face coverings on public transportation.

“It’s sad because like I said, we’re trying to do the best out there in terms of social distancing, facial mask appliance, etc. and operators now are just kind of the impression why should I put myself even more danger so it’s scary,” Marenco said.

Now he’s asking the public to do their part if they see something.

“Whenever you see something like that occur with the operator and another passenger, would you please help the operator, assist the operator, whether that’s calling authorities, calling 311, taking out your cell phone and recording the situation because oftentimes operators we’re out there all alone and it takes a long time for authorities to respond to these types of situations,” Marenco said.

The driver is expected to make a full recovery.

Right now, police say this is being investigated as an aggravated assault with health order violations but right now no arrests have been made.

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