sfpd_cityhall.jpgA San Francisco police officer pleaded not guilty today to charges that he assaulted a woman he was dating during an off-duty incident in January, a district attorney’s office spokeswoman said.

Richard Soares was charged with felony assault and misdemeanor domestic violence battery in connection with the Jan. 7 incident, which occurred at the Slide nightclub at 430 Mason St., prosecutors said.

Soares allegedly pushed the woman, causing her to hit her head and sustain a 1-inch laceration to the back of her head, according to the district attorney’s office.

Spokesman Omid Talai said Soares was arraigned this afternoon on the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

A preliminary hearing is expected to be set when the case resumes Monday at 9 a.m. Soares could face up to four years in state prison–served in county jail–if he is convicted of the offense.

He remains out of custody after posting $60,000 bail.

Police spokesman Officer Carlos Manfredi said that Soares, who worked in the department’s field operations bureau, has been placed on unpaid administrative leave.

District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement that his office treats domestic violence cases very seriously.

“Regardless of who is involved, we will prosecute these cases when there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Gascon made similar comments that no one is above the law when three domestic charges were brought against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, whose case resumes Monday for pre-trial hearings.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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