By Ned Meiners
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – All charges were dropped against Yusuf Labib, a Black Lives Matter protestor who was accused of assaulting a San Francisco Police Officer with a laser pointer, Thursday morning in San Francisco County Superior Court.
In March, Labib attended a memorial for Breonna Taylor where he had a verbal exchange with a police officer regarding a Blue Lives Matter shirt the officer was wearing.
Afterwards, police alleged that Labib shined a laser pointer at the officer. He was arrested and charged with assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.
The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has decided not to pursue the case.
According to Deputy District Attorney Nida Vidutis, “in this instance the People do not believe the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Labib specifically intended to cause fear of bodily harm.”
Before dismissing the case, Vidutis addressed Labib, “Handheld laser pointers are more than just a nuisance,” she explained, adding, “They are a high-tech tool that can pose a substantial threat when shined in the eyes of an individual, including a police officer.”
According to the prosecutor, the officer in question had seen first-hand the consequences of unchecked, reckless laser pointer use. “The police officer in this case personally knew colleagues who have suffered permanent eye damage from lasers being shined in their eyes, so they take this conduct very seriously,” stated Vidutis.
Finally, she warned the defendant, “The People request Mr. Labib recognize that these potential risks exist before choosing to use a laser pointer in the future.”
Labib was present for the hearing and assured San Francisco Superior Court Judge Gail Dekreon that he had heard the prosecutor’s comments.
The judge dismissed the case and the trial date was vacated.
Ned Meiners is a Legal Studies student at City College San Francisco. Originally from Maine, he currently resides on Bernal Hill in San Francisco.
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