SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A 22-year-old San Francisco man who used a four-letter expletive during an encounter with police was found not guilty on Friday of five misdemeanor charges, including battery and resisting arrest, the public defender’s office said.

Chris Christopher had been sitting with a friend in a legally parked car at Newhall Street and La Salle Avenue in the Bayview District on April 9, 2010, when his mother saw the pair and pulled up alongside them in her car, the public defender’s office said.

An officer asked Christopher’s mother, who was parked illegally, for identification and then moved on to question Christopher, according to the public defender’s office.

The officer asked for Christopher’s name but didn’t believe him when he responded honestly, so Christopher fired back, “What if I tell you it’s, ‘F— you’?,” the public defender’s office said.

“It wasn’t respectful, but it was well within Mr. Christopher’s First Amendment rights,” his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Erin Haney said in a statement. “There’s nothing in the penal code about having a smart mouth.”

An argument ensued in which Christopher allegedly threatened the officer, but witnesses who testified at the two-day trial denied that any threats took place, according to the public defender’s office.

The department said Christopher has a clean record.

At one point Christopher got out of the car, but he complied with police orders to return to it, the public defender’s office said. Soon after, officers allegedly pulled him out forcefully.

Christopher was arrested and charged with delaying or obstructing an officer with threat of violence, battery on a police officer, and three counts of resisting arrest, the public defender’s office said. The jury acquitted him on all charges.

Haney had argued in court that police had no right to detain Christopher and used excessive force.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (41)
  1. Ron Fisher says:

    the had no right to do wut thay did just becouse thay did not like his attude

    1. lil old lady says:

      You desperately need a dictionary.

      1. lliloldladiesruseless says:

        following your example – all you bring is another whining female – bet you heard this one before – are you done yet?

      2. Jon says:

        Cops do this stuff all the time nothing new about this story..Oh and to the Lil Old Lady..

        You Desperately need to focus on the story and not a person’s Typos Old Hag..I mean Lady 🙂

  2. thomas shockley says:

    Although, using profanity with police officers is approved by few.
    It is within this mans first ammendment rights.
    When will they wake up? Protect and Serve!!
    Not using the color of authority, to bully the public.
    Thomas, former deputy sheriff.

    1. JM says:

      Agreed. Everyone has to deal with rude people on the job. That doesn’t give anyone license to break the law.

  3. Keith Kemp says:

    Man I wish the SFPD would buy a clue from Oakland and start wearing those tiny video cameras so they would quit wasting the city money having their lame cases being thrown out of court .

    I am glad we have police bit they need to know when it is time to go from Gold to Iron and back again.

  4. john q public says:

    ya, fer shur dude. It always starts with someone breaking the law and then standing around wondering why the cops are there. Uhm, wait, I know. Only in Kalifornia.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    People have no respect for authority today. It is pretty evident in society since society is so out of control. There is no accountability or any values displayed by the average punk on the streets. You can blame parants for not raising their kids right. When push comes to shove, don’t bother calling the police department. Cops have a hard enough time trying to keep criminals off the streets, not have to deal with foul mouth punks who have no respect for the law or those who wear a badge.

    1. lil old lady says:

      I agree completely, but the police went too far this time All those charges they slapped him with are ridiculous.

      1. Reality Check says:

        The smart mouth will spout out to the wrong person one day and end up as a stat. His mother can then take credit for raising such a “respectable” child.

    2. Fred says:

      Respect gets Respect not just because you have a uniform and a gun. There are no cops that deserve respect anymore.

      1. robal says:

        you do not “get” respect you do not “ask’ for respect – YOU EARN IT

    3. Kevin Wallis says:

      Authority has no respect for people now days either. Im not sure how old you are, but im 54, and all through my life, at least once a year i get cops wanting to either get into my business or just check me out and mess with me, because of the car i drive, or the length of my hair, or whatever reason they toss out there. Now ive never been in trouble with the law, just messed with for no real reason, and after this long, it gets tiring. I no longer have respect for cops, feds or any other government agency, because there all a bunch of criminals, and hypocrites.

    4. Chris says:

      These days, the cops are more likely to be the foul-mouthed punks themselves.

    5. Sage says:

      Respect isn’t earned by wearing a uniform and a badge. People who have authority have no respect for those they serve today. Cops do NOT keep criminals off the street and this is a prime example why. They spend way too much time bullying people into compliance for minor infractions. They aren’t paid to garner respect from the public. If they don’t like the fact that they aren’t truly in charge of anything, they’re free to hit the streets and look for a new job. When crime is happening, you can be assured the cops will be there soon after it’s over, to take the report.

      Police in this country are concerned about their pension, union, budget and equipment. Someone forgot to tell them they aren’t the military, no matter how much they try to look like them.

  6. another lil ol lady says:

    Poeple, pls get gramar/spellin app! This is an assult on the english anguage!

    1. Kevin Wallis says:

      pls? looks like you need to stop being so lazy and spell complete words before you correct others.

    2. Dennis Nichols says:


    3. Horatio Galt says:


  7. Tricia SisterbigBones Smith-Lewis says:

    Well at least he didn’t get shot, or allegedly shoot himself….smdh ~ Those charges were definitely trumped up, how can they charge him with battery when he never struck anyone ~ What a load of crock ~

  8. robert vaughn says:

    Respect should work both ways. The cop started this whole thing by calling the young man a liar.

    1. robal says:

      you EARN respect – you don’t ask for it like some stray dog looking for a handout

  9. Steve says:

    Just another good reason to move out of the city. This reflects poorly on the SFPD. Come to Marin and enjoy the MCSD.

  10. Goiter says:

    Christopher will shoot his mouth off to someone who ISN’T a cop one day, and then will visits by Mother every day until they turn off life support. Bet on it.

    1. OneAndOnly says:


      1. OneAndOnly says:


  11. Fred says:

    Cops are out of control, I don’t like them or TRUST them I would never call one so don’t say that.

    1. RanXerox says:

      I agree, Fred, please don’t ever bother the police with your issues the next time you get beat down and robbed at gunpoint.

  12. Ben says:

    I wonder how many real crimes took place while the cops were harrassing honest, law abiding people. I’d rather be in a bad neighborhood without a cop than a good neighborhood with a cop. In a bad neighborhood there may be trouble, but when cops are around there is always trouble.

  13. Man on Mars says:

    If this makes you angry, listen to the episode on This American life: Right to Remain Silent.

    Stories about people who have the right to remain silent… but choose not to exercise that right—including police officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who secretly recorded his supervisors telling officers to manipulate crime statistics

  14. henry says:

    So what you’re saying is that I have to earn respect from a LEO, but I am expected to automatically give respect to him? Wow… people like you are a good advertisement for the need of more chlorine in the gene pool.

  15. RanXerox says:

    While Christopher is certainly stupid, rude, obxoxious, uneducated, vulgar and ignorant, it is also his right to be just that. Unfortnuately, we as Americans seem to approve highly of someone’s right to be an a**hole. Nice job, Chris, you must really make your mom proud and you make a great example of American democracy at work.

  16. PoliceLied says:

    Five charges? Witnesses countered the Police officers report and testimony – meaning the police officers LIED. The police officer should be prosecuted for falsifying their report!

  17. citizenSF says:

    The San Francisco Police Department is scandalous. Vice cops caught on tape for stealing, illegally entering apartments, drug use, shooting unarmed civilians, etc. The FBI is currently investigating two SF Police Vice units, and hundreds of cases were dropped due to evidence of Police officers under investigation.

    Bad Cops are dangerous predators!

  18. tee says:

    me and chris dated for 2 years and i can tell you, he has a smart mouth.. just how he is. but when we were together, he was always getting harassed by the police. even just walking down the street to school, he’d get stopped and booked on “suspicious activity. smh, no justice.

  19. Mac says:

    I understand the police have a job to do which they did by asking the illegally parked car for identification. They should have left it at that . Why ask the young man for his name. What was he doing (nothing sitting in a parked car). So he did give his correct name and they called him a liar. So what if he has a smart mouth. No crime was committed. This man has no criminal record. Look officers you guys know who is doing all the dirt… I think the officers owe him a public apology… My personal opinion……………….

  20. OHIO surfer says:

    This is an epidemic across the country people. I live in the Midwest and the same problem exists here except there are fewer cops but per capita probably statistically the same. Yes I understand respect begets respect at a stop, however in the last ten years cops pull me over for a light bulb that’s burned out and shout demanding to know where I have been. Woow… so its true that we the citizenry are being stopped without just cause and half the time no probable cause. Police get mad, irate, indignant any more if you know your rights. A lot of law enforcement knows that 99% of the people refuse to sign out a complaint form so they continue with poor tactics. We put up with it for too long but people are waking up. Just troll the net for a while and you will see more people fighting back. more cops are getting arrested. You want a quick test for a possible bad cop? In the old days in a small town you could wave at a cop and he would wave back. Today I notice sneers from officers are common place instead of just being human. What these guys deserve is kicked off the force and publicly shamed. then jail time. Whatever…….

  21. Don Cordell says:
    Watch this, and realize, too many cops are like this, if you have not been treated this way, just wait, your time is coming. Unfortunately too many police are arragant from moment one, to show, they are the authority, and you bother them. They want to teach you a lesson. Unfortunatly either the citizen or cop is killed and this is a shame. WE depend on cops being trained to be professional, but 90% of them come straight off the street into power, and love pushing citizens around, then go out and get drunk themselves, and pull other crimes that get covered up for the same things they berate us. Google my name for answers.

  22. OneAndOnly says:


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s