Woman Acquitted of Menacing Neighbors

San Francisco—A woman accused of threatening, beating, and chasing her neighbor in a car has been cleared of all charges, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.

Jurors deliberated approximately one day before finding Chrislette Pitteard, 27, not guilty Tuesday of three counts of criminal threats, one count of assault with likelihood of causing great bodily injury, two counts of child endangerment, and one count of simple battery. All charges were misdemeanors. If convicted, she faced a year in county jail, said her attorney, Deputy Public Defender JP Passaglia.

The charges stemmed from two alleged confrontations on Sept. 27 between Pitteard and a 42-year-old female neighbor in the Martin Luther King-Marcus Garvey Square Cooperative Apartments in the Western Addition. The neighbor alleged that when she asked Pitteard to move her car in the morning, Pitteard responded by threatening to kill the neighbor and her family. The neighbor said that Pitteard eventually complied, then followed her to her children’s school, cutting her off repeatedly, nearly running other cars off the road, and yelling threats out the window.

When the women ran into each other at the complex mailboxes at 5 p.m. that day, the neighbor alleged that Pitteard punched her in the face several times, then asked the woman’s 13-year-old son if he “wanted some” as well.

During the nine-day trial, jurors viewed surveillance video showing Pitteard promptly moving her car for her neighbor without incident.

Passaglia argued that the neighbor had a history of bullying people by filing frivolous claims, and filed seven reports to various agencies in one day regarding her incident with Pitteard. Witnesses to the alleged confrontations told inconsistent stories on the stand. One witness admitted that the neighbor had authored the witness’ signed statement to police. Other witnesses appeared on the stand to have been coached, Passaglia said.

“The neighbor was simply not credible,” Passaglia said. “She showed up every day to stare down my client in the hallway. That is not what victims do, that is what bullies do.”

The president of the co-op testified to Pitteard’s reputation as a peaceful person and a good neighbor.

Pitteard, a mother to young twins, was unable to go home since the incident due to a stay-away order.

“Ms. Pitteard’s entire life was turned upside down due to these accusations,” Adachi said. “Fortunately, she was able to clear her name with the help of a tenacious public defender and a thoughtful jury that carefully weighed the evidence. She is grateful to put this ordeal behind her.”

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