COURT WATCH: Jury Quickly Acquits Black Man Charged with Felony after He Was Targeted by Racial Slurs

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San Francisco Hall of Justice – Photo by David M. Greenwald

By The Vanguard Staff

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A man who lost his job as a security guard while waiting five months for his trial on “baseless” charges after another man shouted racial slurs at him was found not guilty by a jury in less than an hour last week here in San Francisco County Superior Court.

According to the SF Public Defender’s Office, Trevon Morgan, 21, was acquitted “after just 45 minutes of deliberations of a baseless felony charge of attempted robbery of a man’s reading glasses.”

The defenders said Morgan lost his job as a security guard while awaiting trial for five months even though Morgan was verbally attacked by a man with racial slurs. A bystander, said the PD Office, called police and “claimed Morgan had threatened him and his property, which was not corroborated by any evidence.”

“The allegations in this case were reminiscent of other ‘Karen’ cases where someone called the police on a Black person who had done nothing wrong. Here, the complaining witness racially profiled Mr. Morgan, who is Black, assumed the worst about him and falsely accused him of wrongdoing based on the color of his skin,” said Deputy Public Defender Ilona Yañez.

The DPD, who represented Morgan, added, “Police and prosecutors pursued this case without any corroborating evidence of a crime, despite the numerous glaring red flags as to the complaining witness’s credibility, and in so doing perpetuated this vigilante’s racism.”

In a statement offered by the Public Defender’s Office, Morgan, last August, was “walking to a store near his home in the inner Sunset District when a person who appeared to be unhoused and mentally ill started yelling racial slurs and following him. The harassment continued after Morgan came out of the store, and it turned into a verbal argument. 

“That’s when a bystander, who is white, drove up alongside them and took the side of the white man who had been yelling at Morgan. The bystander called the police and claimed that Morgan threatened to kill him and rob him, and that Morgan dented his car. None of this was true or supported by evidence.”

The PD Office added, “Body-worn camera footage from one of the responding officers showed that even the officer expressed skepticism about the bystander’s claims and that the man admitted that the damage to his car predated the incident when confronted by the officer.”

Morgan was arrested “based on these false accusations,” said the PD, was charged with a felony and “a judge only agreed to release him from custody if he agreed to wear an ankle monitor and be subject to home detention,” the PD added, noting the felony cost Morgan his job, and he “was not able to provide for his pregnant girlfriend during that time.”

“When prosecutors bring charges and are unwilling to look at the merit of the evidence, it is severely damaging to the accused and a waste of public resources,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju.

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