The Vanguard Staff
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Video surveillance of an “encounter” between a car repair shop owner and client was key to a decision Wednesday by a San Francisco jury that acquitted the client of great bodily injury, battery, and elder abuse.
Deputy Public Defender Alexa Horner represented the accused customer and showed the jury video of the encounter in which the “shop owner showed verbal and physical aggression toward her client who ended up pushing the owner away in self-defense,” according to a Public Defender Officer press statement.
The customer called 911, but was arrested.
The PD said Horner’s client, who had never been arrested before, was charged with elder abuse because the man he pushed is over 65 years old, “although there was no way for the customer to have known the owner’s age. There was also no evidence of great bodily injury resulting from the push.”
“Although the video surveillance has no audio, the body language clearly shows why my client felt threatened,” said Horner. “We are relieved that the jury used their common sense and followed the law to find him not guilty by virtue of self-defense.”
The PD Office noted, “The accused man’s statements and testimony remained consistent with the evidence, and the defense called character witnesses who spoke to his non-violent and honest nature. In contrast, when the shop owner testified, he made statements that were in direct contrast with the evidence.”
“Our defense team worked skillfully to uncover what really happened in this situation and present it to the jury,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju. “I am grateful that this man got his day in court and proud of the strong representation that Ms. Horner and her team provided.”
According to the PD’s press statement, on April 2021, a customer of the repair shop, “experienced some problems with a car part that the repair shop had installed previously. When the customer returned to the shop to address the matter, he found himself talking to the owner who was on the other side of a plexiglass divider.”
“The surveillance video showed the owner flailing his arms, waving the work order, and pounding his fists on the counter…the customer stood calmly on the other side. (T)he owner appeared to push the plexiglass so hard it bent forward and hit the brim of the customer’s hat…the customer put up his hands to push it away…the owner came around the counter with his hands raised, and the customer pushed the owner once in an act of self-defense,” said the PD Office.