By JoJo Kofman
SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Prosecution and defense Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court debated whether a man who allegedly walked up to a police officer with a firearm in his vest pocket broke the law.
Judge Gail Dekreon started the hearing by stating that in September, a superior court judge imposed an order against the accused—whose name is not being disclosed because the charge is a non-felony—that prohibited him from possessing firearms for 10 years.
The accused now appears in court because of an interaction with a San Francisco police officer which involved a firearm.
The deputy public defender described the incident as “non-violent,” arguing, “the firearm was in his vest but he didn’t reach for it, no arrest was made.” The PD explained that the only person the accused posed a threat to was potentially himself.
The PD asked the court to assign the accused to diversion, arguing on the basis that he is “seeking employment, treatment, looking into health-care options, and this is a non-violent offense.”
Deputy District Attorney Eugene Frid opposed the motion for diversion, arguing, “The defendant was convicted of a violent charge prior to this one…He has assault conduct in his history.”
DDA Frid explained the accused had previously agreed to the terms of not possessing a firearm within the 10-year period, yet, “Here he is, walking at night up to an officer with a gun… With his hands not visible.
“This is dangerous conduct,” said DDA Frid, noting the accused intended to walk up to the police officer. DDA Frid addressed the defense’s claim that the accused posed a threat solely to himself, instead arguing that the accused put the police officer in danger.
Showing his opposition to the defense’s requested diversion, DDA Frid stated, “San Francisco would not be served by having another person with an illegal firearm walking the streets.”
The public defender insisted the accused did not have illegal intent when coming up to the officer. The PD then explained why the accused interacted with the officer, “He (the accused) was in his own home, and went outside because he saw lights on…A car was parked in front of his residence, blocking his driveway.”
DDA Frid disagreed, stating, “The car was not blocking his driveway, it was a few blocks away,” insisting the accused initiated the interaction with the officer. He added, ‘He (the accused) put himself in the position in front of an officer on purpose.”
The PD insisted, “He (the accused) had no illegal intent, he never pulled the gun out.”