A person walking on Haight St. in San Francisco. (Photo/Tony Fischer via Flickr CC BY 2.0)
A person walking on Haight St. in San Francisco. (Photo/Tony Fischer via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Man arrested in anti-Jewish skateboard attack on Haight 

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Updated Dec. 27 at 12:40 p.m.

A suspect has been charged with a hate crime in San Francisco after a bizarre incident in which police say he used his skateboard to attack a 30-year-old Jewish man.

Officials say the incident occurred on the 400 block of Haight Street shortly after midnight on Dec. 17. The suspect, Eduardo Navarro Perez, 31, allegedly asked the victim “if he was Jewish or Black,” according to the city district attorney’s office, then hit him with a skateboard after he said he was Jewish while making “disparaging remarks towards Jewish people.”

Police arrested Perez that same day and have held him in custody since, deeming him a threat to public safety. He faces a charge of assault with a deadly weapon in addition to the hate crime.

The victim suffered non-life threatening injuries, police said, and was treated at the scene.

Brooke Jenkins, the newly elected district attorney who replaced ousted Chesa Boudin, announced the charges in a press release accompanied by a tweet on Thursday. Jenkins’ administration, like her predecessor’s, has stressed the importance of prosecuting hate crimes, particularly amid a rise in visible assaults and other crimes targeting people of Asian descent.

“There’s no place for antisemitism, or any crimes motivated by hate in SF, in our state, or anywhere else,” Jenkins wrote in the tweet. “This prosecution will send a message that our diversity & unity makes us strong – we will not sit idly by & allow anyone to be singled out and victimized b/c who they are.”

The prosecution marks a rare instance in recent years of an arrest following an anti-Jewish hate crime in San Francisco.

According to figures provided by the San Francisco Police Department last year, from 2018 to 2021 there were 16 anti-Jewish bias crimes reported in the city, none resulting in an arrest. The figures were provided in September 2021; SFPD has not responded to a recent request for an update.

Among the hate crimes that worried the city’s Jewish community last year were two acts of vandalism that occurred during, or soon after, an escalation of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territory of Gaza. In May, a Chabad preschool was vandalized with the words “Death to Israil,” while in June a popular Jewish-owned café in the Mission, Manny’s, was defaced with graffiti reading “Racist pigz,” “Zionist pigz” and “Free Palestine.”

The Anti-Defamation League commended the actions of the city’s top prosecutor in a statement to J.

“We are pleased to learn that DA Jenkins has made a charging decision that reflects the severity of this crime and the apparent antisemitism which inspired it,” the statement, from ADL regional director Seth Brysk, said. “Hate-motivated assault must be taken seriously by the justice system and perpetrators should always be held to account. At a time of rising antisemitism – online, in pop culture, on campus and through incidents and hate crime – it is critical to counter the bigotry through words and actions.”

Perez faces up to seven years in state prison if found guilty, the DA’s office said. According to California law, a deadly weapon can be defined either as “any object, instrument, or weapon that is inherently deadly” or “one that is used in such a way that it is capable of causing and likely to cause death or great bodily injury,” per the Kann California Law Group, a criminal defense firm.

Gabe Stutman
Gabe Stutman

Gabe Stutman is the news editor of J. Follow him on Twitter @jnewsgabe.