A San Francisco man and his friend called 911 after discovering an injured woman who had fallen off her bicycle on the street, but when police arrived, the man was arrested and taken to jail for no reason at all.
Peretz Partensky wrote about his July 2013 incident in which he spent 12 hours in jail, with half of that time in solitary confinement.
“My friend Ben Woosley and I were hanging out at Driftwood Bar on Folsom Street,” wrote Partensky in his post online. “We were talking work; we had three drinks over the course of three hours. We left the bar at 12:45am and walked towards my house, a block away. The accident had happened just seconds before…the bicycle had flipped forward and lay unattended in the street. The girl’s foot was bare and mangled, her chin bleeding. There was blood on her jacket, a puddle of it on the ground.”
Partensky says he then called 911 as Woosley and a bystander tried to help keep the woman’s foot elevated. When police finally arrived, Partensky says he identified himself as the caller. Out of nowhere, Partensky says that the officers grabbed Ben, who was keeping the injured woman’s foot elevated, dragged him across the sidewalk, and threw him against the wall. When Partensky tried to explain to the officers that he and Woosley were heading home and that they discovered the accident, officers handcuffed him. According to Partensky, he was not told why he was being arrested and was never read his rights.
“As I sat cuffed and propped against the wall, another officer came over and reprimanded me for obstructing police work,” wrote Partensky. “If this were indeed the case, I said, I would agree. But I hadn’t interfered with the medical response, nor could I have. I was 15 feet away from Rebecca [the injured woman] and Josh when I was tackled. I had good intentions, I said. I had called 911 and was following the operator’s instructions to remain on the scene until the ambulance arrived. That was all.”
“The small talk continued. They said I had nothing to worry about. I had done the right thing,” continued Partensky in his post. “I’d probably be taken to the police station around the corner and released. I asked whether I should communicate this to Ben or other friends, in case I needed help getting bailed out. They said that this process should be quick, quicker than my friends’ ability to help, and that I’d be out in no time.”
Partensky was soon taken to San Francisco County Jail, put in a cell, and treated harshly for his 12-hour stay there. During that time, he tried to ask officers if he could see a doctor because he was having head pain from police arresting him, and after asking numerous times, the officers escorted him to solitary where they stripped him naked and left him there with little attention for six hours.
By the time the day shift officers arrived, Partensky says, the entire tune changed completely. A psychiatrist arrived to evaluate Partensky and immediately realized that he should not be there. He was transferred to a holding cell and began the process of being released.
Once Partensky retrieved his personal items, an officer informed him that if he showed up to court on Tuesday, all charges against him would be dropped. He recalls the conversation he had before walking out the door.
“The charges will be dropped if you show up on Tuesday. If you don’t show up, there will be a warrant for your arrest,” I was casually informed.
“Deputy, should I have been here in the first place?”
It was almost too good to hear. “Then why did I end up here?”
“You have to consider the source.” This phrase I remember verbatim.
“How do you mean?”
“I mean, there are a lot of young cops on the street, trying to make a name for themselves.”
Now, Partensky has filed complaints with the city, to no avail, and plans to file a lawsuit. It's also being reported that one of the arresting officers was already being sued by another person at the time of this unwarranted arrest.