SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco police officer known as the “Hot Cop of the Castro” pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two felony hit-and-run charges after he allegedly struck two pedestrians in a crosswalk in the city’s North Beach neighborhood early Sunday and then fled the scene on foot.
Police Officer Christopher Kohrs, 38, a seven-year veteran of the department who is currently out of custody on $100,000 bail, entered the Hall of Justice for his arraignment in San Francisco Superior Court this afternoon.READ MORE: UPDATE: Estrada Fire Sparked by Cal Fire Controlled Burn Near Watsonville Now 10% Contained
Met by a barrage of media, San Francisco sheriff’s deputies at the Hall of Justice ushered Kohrs into a backroom until Judge Edward Torpoco was ready to arraign him.
Kohrs had previously gained social media fame as the “Hot Cop of the Castro,” stemming from his time patrolling the Castro District and participating in events such as the San Francisco AIDS Foundations’ Big Gay 10K race.
Kohrs is accused of striking two men in their 40s around 2:20 a.m. Sunday at Broadway and Montgomery Street and then fleeing the scene on foot.
The two men were hospitalized with very severe internal injuries, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said this afternoon.
Police said the injuries are considered serious but not life-threatening.
Kohrs was identified as the registered owner and driver of the orange and black 2009 Dodge Charger involved in the collision and left at the scene.
Roughly eight hours after the collision, at about 10 a.m. Sunday, Kohrs turned himself in at police headquarters, according to the district attorney’s office.
Police said they are investigating whether Kohrs was driving while intoxicated.
Judge Torpoco asked Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Zudekoff whether there were allegations that Kohrs was driving under the influence when the collision occurred, but Zudekoff said that such allegations are not included in the current complaint.
Gascon said earlier this week that the lack of sobriety testing immediately after the collision could cause problems for prosecutors handling the case.
Zudekoff urged the judge to prohibit Kohrs from driving, but Kohrs’ attorney Anthony Tall argued that his client would need to drive in order to attend meetings with the internal affairs unit at the Police Department.READ MORE: Popular Safari Park Stripped Of Accreditation
Torpoco ordered that Kohrs only drive to and from work-related meetings.
Kohrs is currently on unrelated medical leave and if he becomes eligible to return to duty, he will then be suspended pending further investigation, according to police.
Gascon said Kohrs actually had the green light when the collision occurred and that the people he hit were crossing the street against a red light.
He said what makes this incident “very disturbing” is that a police officer left the scene of a collision.
“He didn’t make himself available” for drug and alcohol testing until almost eight hours later, Gascon said.
Gascon said, hypothetically speaking, “it makes it more difficult, but it’s not impossible” to prosecute someone for intoxication-related charges in similar cases.
Gascon was unable to comment on toxicology and forensic evidence collected by investigators.
He said the officer’s conduct was “egregious” and that his office will be very aggressive in the prosecution of this case.
He said when law enforcement officers, who are sworn to protect and serve the public, break the law, “It makes a mockery of the whole system.”
Kohrs’ next court date, a pre-hearing conference, is set for Jan. 26.
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