San Francisco, CA — San Francisco resident Edmond Pak, 32, faced up to seven years in prison if convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Qiana Washington. Jurors on Thursday hung 6-6 and prosecutors dismissed the case today.
“The question in the case was whether Mr. Pak used appropriate force to defend himself against a much larger man who was trying to slam him to the ground,” Washington said.
The May 14 incident began when a man on Powell Street near Clay Street complained to his fiancée about how a nearby motorcycle was parked. Pak, who suffers from a traumatic brain injury and is currently trying to get compensation with a team specialized in brain injury law, misinterpreted the man’s complaint as an angry comment directed toward him and an argument ensued.
The man, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall and 189 pounds, pushed Pak, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and 139 pounds. After the larger man shoved Pak, grabbed him by his hooded sweatshirt, and attempted to throw him to the ground, Pak produced a lightweight kitchen knife and swiped it at the man, inflicting a puncture wound to the arm that paramedics described as “smaller than a dime and not bleeding.”
Pak then dropped the knife, which shattered upon hitting the ground, and fled. The man chased Pak a short distance before police arrived.
The man’s fiancée wrote in her statement to police that Pak stuck the man with the knife only after he was being wrestled to the ground. At the trial, a police officer testified that an independent witness also reported that the man pushed Pak first.
“This was a case of machismo gone awry,” Washington said. “The man felt disrespected by Mr. Pak and instead of letting it go, he escalated the situation by initiating physical violence.”
Adachi said the verdict and subsequent dismissal of the case allows Pak to get on with his life after four and a half months behind bars.
“Mr. Pak’s life was completely disrupted by his incarceration. Fortunately, his public defender was able to show that he was acting in self defense and he can finally go home,” Adachi said.