San Francisco’s 44th annual Pride Fest was marred by at least one incident of violence against 2 women on Saturday evening. Allegedly, 6 different men accosted the ladies as they were making their way down Ninth Street at Mission. One of the women, 27, had her wrist broken, while the other, 24-years-old, was beaten around the head. This was no simple attack, however, as at least one of the offenders used homophobic slurs and hate language during the occurrence. The unidentified men were never caught and remain at large.
Hate crimes are taken very seriously in the state of California (CA Penal Code 422.55, 422.6, 422.7 and 422.75). A ‘hate crime’ is a crime committed with a specific motivation, one of discrimination toward a person because of their religion, nationality, gender, disability, or sexual orientation. In California, committing a crime motivated by hatred will result in harsh sentencing enhancements. Hate crimes are ‘wobblers’ in California, meaning that they could be prosecuted as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. The 6 men who participated in the attack in the South of Market neighborhood will likely face felony penalties if they are apprehended. They could end up spending up to 3 years in state prison and paying a $10,000 fine. Even if some of the men did not actually participate in the harming the victims, they could spend up to 4 years in state prison for having aided and abetted. Sentencing enhancements could, in other words, end in an additional 4 years in prison.