A wheelchair-using man accused of stabbing a San Francisco police officer before being shot by officers in January was found not guilty by a jury of charges of assaulting a police officer, although jurors deadlocked on other charges in the case.
Randal Dunklin, 56, was shot multiple times on the street outside a Department of Public Health behavioral health services building at 10th and Howard streets on Jan. 4.
Dunklin was in a wheelchair at the time he was shot and was allegedly vandalizing parking meters and slashing the tires of city vehicles. He was initially pepper sprayed in the face and then he allegedly cut the officer with a buck knife.
The officer who was cut in the shoulder was hospitalized and later released.
Dunklin was also shot with a non-lethal bean bag projectile weapon to try to subdue him, then two officers opened fire on him when he threw the knife.
Prosecutors had said he was throwing the knife at officers, while his defense attorney, Danielle Harris from the public defender’s office, said he was only tossing it to his side.
Dunklin was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on an officer and three counts of resisting arrest, as well as brandishing a knife and vandalism charges, prosecutors said.
After deliberating for five days following a nearly eight-week trial, a San Francisco Superior Court jury this afternoon found Dunklin not guilty of one of the assault charges but deadlocked on the other charge. The jury hung 9-3 in favor of finding him guilty.
The jury also deadlocked on two counts of resisting arrest while acquitting him on the third count, prosecutors said.
Dunklin was found guilty of the vandalism and brandishing a knife charges. Harris said outside of court that she did not dispute those charges during the trial.
She said she was “very pleased that he was not convicted of any felonies.”
District attorney’s office spokesman Omid Talai said prosecutors have not yet made a decision on whether to retry the charges on which the jury was deadlocked as of this afternoon.
District Attorney George Gascon had faced criticism from Harris and other defense attorneys earlier this year because he was police chief at the time of the shooting but did not recuse himself from the case.
Harris said the shooting of Dunklin was also a case of police brutality and said today “it seems that the jury saw very clearly” that the officers’ “actions were inappropriate.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News
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