A judge in San Francisco ruled Friday that Antoine Watson will stand trial in the brutal death of 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports supporters of the victim’s family packed the courtroom wearing “justice for Vicha” t-shirts.
Video of the incident went viral and came to symbolize the spike in anti-Asian hate, although the San Francisco District Attorney’s office chose not to pursue a hate crime charge.
The video showed a man run-up to the elderly Ratanapakdee and then shoving him hard into the concrete as his head hit the pavement, ultimately killing him.
“It’s strong and powerful that makes us raise up our voice and demand justice for Vicha,” Monthanus Ratanapakdee, Vicha’s daughter, said according to CBS News. “The story of my father is not going to be in vain. His memory should be about equal rights for everyone. Asian Americans deserve to be treated equally. That is the promise of the American life.”
Watson’s attorney disputed the prosecution when it argued that Watson went back to take a photo of Ratanapakdee as he lay motionless on the ground. Defense attorney Anita Nabha also began building a case that charges should be reduced to involuntary manslaughter from murder and elder abuse.
“This was their opportunity to present the evidence to add those charges,” said Nabha about the prosecution. “And they didn’t do that, because the evidence doesn’t exist.”
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