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Suspect accused of assaulting 88-year-old San Francisco woman attacked East Bay leader in 2021

James Lee Ramsey(right) speaks with his defense attorney in the courtroom in San Francisco on July 25, 2023. Ramsey is accused of assaulting an 88-year-old woman. | Source: Han Li/The Standard

Days after his arrest for a violent assault against an Asian elder in San Francisco, the suspect in the case was revealed to be the same assailant in a high-profile East Bay assault case in 2021.

James Lee Ramsey, an Oakland resident, stands accused of kicking an 88-year-old Asian American woman to the ground in an unprovoked attack in the Union Square area on July 21, causing life-threatening injuries.

Soon after Ramsey’s name was released to the public, observers found that his name and age matched that of the attacker who assaulted Oakland Chinatown leader Carl Chan two years prior.

San Francisco jail records show that Ramsey, 27, was born in September 1995, as was the attacker of the same name in the 2021 case.

Chan, a longtime leader in Oakland Chinatown, confirmed to The Standard that Ramsey is out of jail and expressed his belief that Ramsey is the same assailant.

“I’m not surprised at all that he went out and attacked an elderly lady,” Chan said. “We are very sad to see another innocent victim.”

Ramsey was convicted of attacking Chan and was released on probation in 2022. Alameda County court records show that Ramsey has dozens of hearings to attend, the most recent being on June 15, titled “Probation Department Petition to Revoke Probation.”

San Francisco court records also show that Ramsey was charged with vandalism in a separate case.

In previous reporting, Ramsey has been identified as an unhoused man who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A GoFundMe page, created on his behalf in February 2022, has raised more than $10,000 to support his medical needs. After the news of Ramsey being arrested again broke, however, the crowdfunding page was taken down.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has announced multiple felony charges against Ramsey, including elder abuse and assault.

At the brief arraignment hearing Tuesday afternoon, Ramsey appeared with his public defender and denied the accusations. 

Prosecutor Jamal Anderson asked Judge Victor Hwang to keep Ramsey in custody pending trial. Hwang agreed. If convicted, Ramsey faces more than 10 years in state prison. The next court date is in early August.

Han Li can be reached at