A FILIPINO American teenager was reportedly the victim of an anti-Asian attack outside a San Francisco bar over the weekend.
The victim’s mother, Sofia Enguillado, posted a TikTok video that showed images of her 18-year-old son, C.J, with a bruised and swollen face after allegedly getting punched outside of Gino and Carlo, a bar on the 500 block of Green St. in the city’s North Beach neighborhood.
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“If you’re Asian, this is the type of service you get waiting for pizza in Little Italy North Beach, San Francisco,” says the caption on the now-viral video posted on Sunday, April 4.
Officers responded at about 5:27 p.m. on Friday, April 2 to a commotion on the sidewalk and found an adult male who had been struck during a physical altercation and who suffered non life-threatening injuries, as reported by CBS SF Bay Area.
C.J. Enguillado was reportedly sitting in an area outside the bar while waiting for his parents, thinking it was open seating.
According to Enguillado, the bar owner Frank Rossi repeatedly told him to leave after learning he was underaged.
The Fil-Am teen said he interpreted the request to leave as racially charged.
“By the way it sounded, he said, ‘Get the f— out of here, you don’t belong here,’ that’s what he said, and I cannot forget those words,” he told KPIX 5.
“That’s, like, traumatizing to me,” he added.
After Enguillado refused to leave because he was waiting for his parents — who were reportedly waiting to get food at a nearby pizzeria — a bystander who was also a patron of the bar punched him in the face.
Rossi, for his part, denied that the incident was due to racism. He insisted that the victim was asked to leave because of his age, not his race.
“You have to leave this area, you are not allowed in this area, this is our area. It’s considered inside the bar, even though it’s outside, it’s like a bar. You cannot – you’re under 21,’” Rossi allegedly told C.J.
He also said that he “went nuts” after a bystander got involved with the situation.
“I went nuts when he hit him, went nuts. I could not believe he did it. There was no threat, no threat. I was completely caught off guard by it,” said Rossi.
The suspect, identified as a retired professional boxer Pat Lawlor, was arrested and charged with assault and battery, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was cited and released on a misdemeanor battery charge.
Meanwhile, police maintained that they did not have evidence to indicate that the incident was a hate crime.
“We do not have evidence to believe this incident was predicated by hate,” police said in a statement.
Rossi told reporters that he has been receiving death threats because of the incident. His bar also received an influx of negative reviews on Yelp, prompting the website to disable reviews, saying that while it “unequivocally” rejects “racism in any form,” entries must “reflect an actual first-hand consumer experience.”
“I want to say that they’re mistaken, their son shouldn’t have been hit,” Rossi said in a message to the Enguillado family, who are accusing him of racism.
“[The arrested man] doesn’t work for us, he never did work for us. He’s just a customer. Sorry it happened, but it wasn’t racism at all, or a hate crime against Asians,” he added.
Gino and Carlo released a statement on its Yelp page on April 4: “An unfortunate incident occurred on our property between two patrons when an underaged guest refused to leave. No Gino and Carlo employees were involved in the physical altercation. We don’t condone violence or racism of any kind. Sincerely, Frank Rossi and Gino and Carlo staff.”