San Francisco, CA — A reveler accused of hurling a bottle at police during the World Series celebration last year was acquitted of all charges following a jury trial, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
Jurors deliberated an hour Tuesday afternoon before finding Jusef Nathan, 34, not guilty of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and assault on a police officer with force likely to cause great bodily injury. The father and San Francisco native had been in jail since his Oct. 29 arrest, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Peter Santina.
Nathan was one of thousands of baseball fans who took to the streets to celebrate following the San Francisco Giants’ Oct. 28, 2012 World Series win. Just after midnight, an officer standing in a skirmish line at 16th and Mission streets saw a man in a dark jacket with gray stripes along the sleeves throw a bottle toward police. Though nobody was hit by the bottle, the officer reported hearing it shatter nearby.
Approximately 20 minutes later, the same police officer spotted Nathan, who was wearing a similar jacket, urinating against a building. Five officers descended on Nathan, tackling him to the ground and arresting him.
Two police officers took the stand during the weeklong trial, but contradicted each other, as well as their prior statements, when describing the bottle-thrower’s location and the details of his arrest. A grainy surveillance video told yet another story, showing the alleged assailant more than a half a block from where officers claimed he stood.
An identification expert testified that police identification of Nathan was unreliable due to lighting conditions and distance, as well as the chaotic scene, in which police were dealing with multiple acts of vandalism and assault while trying to disperse the rowdy crowd.
“Not only were the officers’ descriptions and stories inconsistent, but it made no sense that Mr. Nathan would assault an officer, then return to the crime scene 20 minutes later to urinate,” Santina said.
Adachi said justice was served in the case.
“The jurors were able to ascertain that there was no reliable evidence against Mr. Nathan. It is tragic that this baseball fan, who wanted only to celebrate his home team’s historic win, spent eight months in jail for a crime he did not commit,” Adachi said.