Police Brutality Complaint Filed - Elder woman was "canning" in

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 22:05:13 -0700 (PDT)

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FWD  San Francisco Chronicle - Wednesday, September 29, 1999 - Page A19


     Chronicle Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A 73-year-old woman who suffers from arthritis and
Alzheimer's disease filed a citizen's complaint yesterday against a
San Francisco police officer who allegedly roughed her up as she
scavenged for bottles and cans in the 3Com Park parking lot.

Ya Fang Li, who is 4-foot-9 and weighs 95 pounds, was thrown to
the ground and handcuffed in the incident on August 29, according to
her complaint, filed with the civilian oversight agency, the Office
of Citizen Complaints.

Li was treated for bruises to her knees at San Francisco General

Police spokesman Officer Sherman Ackerson said Li was hurt when
she slipped as Sergeant John Fewer tried to arrest her for scavenging
the recyclables.

Li's complaint, filed with the help of the Asian Law Caucus, said
she was taking a bottle from the trash when she heard someone yell.

``Suddenly a man grabbed me from behind by my neck and shoulders
and kicked me in my legs to trip me forward. My entire body fell
face-forward,'' she said.

She said officers then kneed her in the back and ``twisted my arms
together over my back'' and ``roughly scraped my wrists'' while
handcuffing her.

Fewer said in his police report that Li has repeatedly defied
orders not to collect recyclables from the parking lot.

On August 29, Fewer said, he confronted her at a garbage bin and
told her that she was under arrest but she continued to pluck items
from the trash.

She finally climbed out and knelt to collect cans from under a
car, Fewer said. When he tried to take away a device she was using to
reach underneath, he and Li ``got into a tug-of-war for possession of
the tool,'' Fewer said.

Li managed to ``wriggle away'' after one of her hands was placed
in handcuffs, and she fell down in the process, Fewer said.


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