(From Press Release – SF Public Defender’s Office) – On Thursday, September 5, 2019, SF Sheriff’s Deputies allegedly kicked in the door of a man’s Polk Street residence while attempting to serve a bench warrant for a missed court date. When the occupant, David Wesser, grabbed his dog by the collar, he was shot through the hand by a Deputy. The bullet pierced through his hand into the dog’s head, killing it.
Although initial reports questioned the nature of Mr. Wesser’s injury, medical staff confirmed with Mr. Wesser and the Public Defender’s Office that the wound was indeed a gunshot.
Mr. Wesser is a participant in a housed case management program through the Community Justice Court (CJC). He was due to appear in court on Friday, August 30, 2019, for a regular progress report as part of his program requirements. He missed the hearing because he was in the hospital Friday and Saturday seeking medical treatment for an unrelated injury. The judge issued a bench warrant for the missed court date, but Mr. Wesser would normally be allowed to have his case manager add him back onto the court calendar after the long weekend.
According to Mr. Wesser, he heard a loud knocking on the door of his apartment and froze out of fear. Moments later, deputies kicked in the door to his apartment as he attempted to open it while asking them to calm down. Mr. Wesser fell to the ground when they kicked in the door and was able to grab his dog, Ruby, by the collar. He told deputies not to shoot, but the Deputy fired a bullet that hit Mr. Wesser’s hand and went into Ruby’s head.
Mr. Wesser was taken to the hospital, but Ruby’s body had to be carried out to the shock and dismay of residents of the Broadway Hotel.
Mr. Wesser was taken back into custody and arraigned on the outstanding bench warrant on Friday morning. He is currently in jail. His Public Defender, Everett Hewlett, plans to file a motion for his release to be heard on Monday morning in D23 between 9-10am at 850 Bryant.
Mr. Hewlett said, “The ultimate irony is that Mr. Wesser was housed through the court’s program and getting assistance, but then he gets shot by a deputy in his own home. Now he is in custody being held, essentially, by the people who did it.”
Mr. Hewlett added, “One of his grounding forces in his life was his dog. He’s in a really low place right now.”