27 Feb

San Francisco Police Officer Hits, Kicks Homeless Man

Huff Post


Officer Raymond Chu pushing Bernard Warren through the exit of a San Francisco bus on Feb. 11, 2015. | San Francisco Public Defender

San Francisco Police Officer Hits, Kicks Homeless Man Who Slept On Bus (VIDEO)

SAN FRANCISCO — Video recorded on a city bus shows a San Francisco police officer kicking and hitting a homeless man after the officer apparently struggled to wake the man up.

Officer Raymond Chu also allegedly pepper sprayed 36-year-old Bernard Warren, according to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, as their scuffle moved from inside the empty bus at the last stop in the Richmond district to the street outside.

Warren was hospitalized and jailed for two weeks until a judge saw the footage, which was recorded on Feb. 11. He has been charged with threatening an officer, punishable by a year behind bars.

“This sort of force was totally unnecessary. It was completely over the top,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, whose office is representing Warren. “If you find anyone sleeping on a bus, it’s reasonable to wake them up and ask [them] to leave. Sure, but is that reason to beat [someone] down?

The explicit video below, recorded by surveillance cameras on the No. 5 bus, shows Warren slowly rising from the back of the bus after Chu tries rousing him. He taunts Chu as he lingers in the aisle.

“Don’t touch me. I could beat your ass.”

Chu responds, saying, “Dude, fucking what did you say?”

Chu then shoves Warren and kicks him through the exit. Outside the bus, he shoves Warren again and appears to take out his baton.

“Are we done here? Keep walking,” Chu says.

A camera looking through the windshield shows Warren walk back and forth. Chu cocks his arm and brings it down with a crack as the baton hits Warren. According to the public defender’s office, after a few more hits, Chu pepper sprayed Warren.

Chu has previously said that Warren came at him with clenched fists, according to documents cited by the public defender’s office.

Warren had deep bruises on his legs and burns on his face from the pepper spray, according to his lawyer.

“Force is never a pretty sight and the officer gave orders for Mr. Warren to walk away. The officer’s report is consistent with what we see on the video,” said San Francisco Police Department Sgt. Monica Macdonald in an email to HuffPost. “Mr Warren was asked/told to leave and he returned several times and he continued to threaten to beat the office which is a crime – which you can see and hear in the video.”

A jury will hear the case against Warren on March 4.

“Fundamentally we have a situation where a man was sleeping, which is not a crime,” said Coalition on the Homelessness Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach. “It started off as completely innocent. This should not be a police situation. By aggressively charging [Warren], this sends a message to the officer that his behavior was acceptable, that it’s okay to escalate non-criminal situations.”

UPDATE: This article has been revised to include comments from the San Francisco Police Department.

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