San Francisco, CA — A man who got into a physical altercation with a dog owner after trying to help the dying animal was found not guilty of battery Thursday, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jury members deliberated less than 30 minutes before acquitting 38-year-old Jonathan Krull of a single count of misdemeanor battery, said Krull’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Scott Grant. Krull faced six months in jail if convicted.
Krull was arrested Feb. 5 following an incident outside of Walgreens at Market Street and Van Ness Avenue. Krull reported that as he walked out of the drugstore, he saw an extremely sick dog lying on the sidewalk surrounded by several people. Alarmed, he approached the group and expressed concern about the animal. The dog’s owner, a 33-year-old woman with convictions for drugs and burglary, and her male companion began yelling at Krull and an argument ensued.
The woman then escalated the conflict by reportedly balling up her fists and leaning forward, asking Krull, “Do you want a piece of me?” In an unsuccessful effort to diffuse the situation, Krull put his hand on the woman’s shoulder. She responded by throwing several punches, which Krull blocked.
Witnessing what they believed to be a man attacking a woman, two male passersby then tackled Krull and began choking him. A female bystander, who later testified she feared Krull was being killed, called 911.
Responding officers immediately handcuffed and arrested Krull. The dog later died.
During the two day trial, the 911 caller said she never saw Krull hit the dog owner. The dog owner also took the stand, testifying that she was planning to hail a cab to take her pet to the veterinarian. However, her testimony was inconsistent with what she told police at the scene.
“She simply was not credible,” Grant said. “Her story on the stand was very different from every witness account. She claimed Mr. Krull threatened to kill her and her dog, she denied yelling at him and testified that she somehow blocked his punches while her back was to him.”
Grant said Krull was relieved to have the ordeal behind him.
“Mr. Krull was trying to be a good Samaritan and was rewarded with being choked and arrested,” Grant said.
Adachi said the case illustrates how appearances can be deceiving.
“At first glance, bystanders and police officers assumed Mr. Krull was attacking the complaining witness,” he said. “In fact, he was a good Samaritan who was defending himself after being assaulted by the supposed victim.”