SF Public Defender Announces Jury Acquitted Graffiti Artist of Assault Charges After ‘Vigilante’ Jumped Him


By Vanguard Staff

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – It’s been a long four years for Anthony Portillo – a self-described graffiti artist – but he was found not guilty of multiple felony counts, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office said Tuesday.

A jury found Portillo, 29, not guilty of mayhem, battery and assault after he was attacked by what the PD Office called a “vigilante” apparently upset, in July of 2017, that Portillo was spray painting graffiti on an already heavily graffitied dumpster.

Police arrested Portillo, although witnesses said he was jumped by a man first taking photos of Portillo, who then attacked him.

The PD office said Portillo was only defending himself and had to fight off the “vigilante” who seemingly wanted Portillo to stop spray painting the dumpster. The attacker hit Portillo with his phone and then grabbed him because, the attacker told police, Portillo had ignored his commands to stop spray painting.

Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof argued it was a clear-cut case of self-defense.

“By all accounts, this vigilante was the aggressor and yet Mr. Portillo, who was lawfully defending himself, was the one arrested and charged with mayhem, battery, and assault,” said PD Maloof.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Portillo’s family had to lose money on bailing him out, and that he had these charges hanging over his head for over four years, but Mr. Portillo and I are thankful that the jury understood the facts of the case and rightfully found him not guilty,” he added
After the jury’s decision, Portillo said, “I had no choice but to defend myself. What am I supposed to do? Just get beat up?”

PD Maloof noted statements made to police and medical personnel and during trial testimony showed the “man who had approached was the aggressor and had to be restrained by his own wife and colleague.”

Maloof said a bystander video showed Mr. Portillo holding him off and asking the bystander, “Tell him to stop.” Another video has the audio of a woman’s voice, Mr. Portillo’s girlfriend, saying, “I have a baby in the car. Just leave us alone.”

The PD office said that although “Portillo and his family attempted to tell officers at the scene that he had defended himself against an attack, the police arrested Mr. Portillo and booked him on serious felony charges.”

“I am proud of Mr. Maloof and his team for having the courage to take this case to trial and revealing the fuller picture of the incident through direct and cross examination. I am grateful that the jury carefully reviewed the evidence and found that Mr. Portillo acted in self-defense,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju.


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