SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A San Francisco police officer has several bystanders to thank after they stepped in and rescued her after a man attacked and pinned her down on a street in the city’s Chinatown.
The city’s police union released video of the assault on Sunday.
Authorities say the officer approached the man after he was harassing people in the street Friday night. The man then fought the officer to the ground before witnesses jumped in to help.
Chinatown has become a hot spot for racially motivated attacks.
Witnesses say before the man threw the officer to the ground he was spewing racial slurs at people walking along Kearny Street.
“He was saying something about Chinese people, like Chinese don’t belong here or something,” witness David Yee said.
Yee saw the man identified as 33-year-old Gerardo Contreras about an hour before the attack.
Yee says Contreras appeared to be homeless and suffering from a mental episode before the officer tried to detain him.
Bystanders rushed to the officer’s aid, striking and pulling at Contreras while the officer was pinned down. Officers were later seen running to help and arresting Contreras.
“A little shocked. Like he was attacking a police officer and if he can attack a police officer what would stop him from attacking a civilian?” Yee said.
The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association says this would not have happened if there was not a police officer shortage. The SFPOA estimates there’s around 230 vacancies within the department.
“This just goes to show you that police officers are not immune to random acts of violence,” spokesperson Dustin Derollo said.
“It’s fortunate she didn’t get additional injuries or worst case scenario death,” Derollo said.
The officer was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and has since been released. Contreras remains in the San Francisco County Jail.