SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man accused of running over San Francisco police officer Elia Lewin-Tankel, leaving him severely brain damage, was found guilty Thursday of several counts and now faces a lengthy prison sentence.
In a courtroom nearly filled with San Francisco police officers, 51-year-old Willie Flanigan sat silently as the Superior Court jury found him guilty of charges that included evading a police officer, causing serious bodily injury; two counts of resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon.READ MORE: Early Season Red Flag Warning Sends Residents Scrambling To Protect Homes
“We applaud the jury’s guilty verdict in this tragic case that has left one of our officers, Elia Lewin-Tankel, struggling to put his and his family’s life back together,” said San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya. “The jury saw that Willie Flanigan was a dangerous repeat offender who had no regard for others and they ensured that he will be held accountable for his deplorable actions.”
Montoya said his officers were praying “for a lengthy sentence for Flanigan so that he has ample time to contemplate the lives he’s wrecked because of his repeated criminal behavior.”
Flanigan, who also went by the name Maurquise Johnson, struck Lewin-Tankel around 12:20 p.m. Oct. 18, 2017 on Turk Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street.READ MORE: One Dead, Two Wounded In San Jose Shooting
He was fleeing from officers who were trying to investigate him for a possible firearm investigation.
Lewin-Tankel, who was on a bicycle patrol at the time of the collision, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and underwent surgery that afternoon.
Flanigan’s vehicle was found in the area of Buena Vista Park a short time later, prompting a search before he was eventually taken into custody.
Lewin-Tankel has been with the department since 2012 and was assigned to Tenderloin Station in March 2016. Department officials said he has been recognized numerous times for outstanding police work and received a Purple Heart Award in 2015 for an incident in which he was injured as a direct result of actions he took to protect members of the community.MORE NEWS: COVID: San Francisco Businesses Thriving Again Under New Yellow Tier Freedoms
He had started law school, volunteered for many community events in the Tenderloin and taught jiu-jitsu to others in the department and community. All activities have been on hold as Lewin-Tankel has struggled to regain some normality to his life.