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03-30-09, 08:05 PM #1
When San Francisco State University student Joseph Yoon walks into the Taraval Police Station to complain, ends up in handcuffs
Criminal complaint: When San Francisco State University student Joseph Yoon walked into the Taraval Police Station recently, he was hoping to make a complaint about an officer.
Instead, he wound up being cuffed and slapped with an assault citation by the very same officer he'd come to complain about.
"I couldn't believe it," Yoon said.
Yoon, president of the Korean Student Association at San Francisco State, went to the 24th Avenue station Feb. 9 to complain about how Officer James Nguyen had handled a traffic accident involving Yoon the night before.
Nguyen, 42, a 10-year veteran, apparently overheard what was going on and rather than walk away, stepped into the waiting room and told Yoon he had no cause for complaint.
Sgt. James Acevedo, who was summoned to the front, told us that Yoon was agitated and that his own officer was "a little upset," so he tried to split them up.
Before leaving, however, Nguyen told Yoon that he could be arrested if he made false statements about how the accident had been handled.
At this point the story splits three ways:
-- Nguyen's police report says Yoon turned, his hands balled into fists, and stepped forward.
-- According to Yoon, he simply turned, raised his hands palms open and asked, "What are you going to do about it?"
-- Acevedo said Yoon cursed, puffed out his chest and "advanced in a threatening manner."
The sergeant says he figured Yoon was about to assault Nguyen, so he had him handcuffed to a bar in the holding area. There he stayed for at least two hours, until he was cited for alleged misdemeanor assault on a police officer and released.
The citing officer: Nguyen.
Acevedo says he never asked Nguyen what he was doing confronting Yoon. Nor did the sergeant concede that his own officer's conduct might have made the situation worse.
We asked the captain in charge of Taraval Station, Paul Chignell, to pass along an interview request to Nguyen. We haven't heard back from the officer.
Chignell, who wasn't there at the time, said that "my officers did nothing wrong."
A captain at another station, however, wondered why Chignell and other department supervisors don't appear to be concerned about the incident.
"I don't get it - where is the assault?" said the captain, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the department.
Apparently, District Attorney Kamala Harris doesn't think much of the "assault" either. Her office chose not to file charges.
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