SFsheriff.jpgA San Francisco sheriff’s lieutenant accused of a domestic violence attack against a former romantic partner pleaded not guilty today to three misdemeanor charges.

Vincent Calvarese, 48, was arrested at about 10:40 p.m. last Thursday at the Gold’s Gym at 2301 Market St. in the city’s Castro District.

Calvarese pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court today to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, assault and false imprisonment.

Assistant District Attorney Ilana Jacobs told Judge Susan Breall some of the details of the case in court, saying the incident began when Calvarese and the victim ran into each other at the gym.

The pair had dated briefly between January and March of this year, but were no longer together, Jacobs said.

She said that after running into each other, an argument ensued that turned physical when Calvarese allegedly followed the victim into the locker room and pushed and punched him.

Before attacking the victim, Calvarese allegedly told him, “I’m a captain, I can have you arrested,” Jacobs said.

Calvarese’s attorney, Judith Odbert, told Breall that “our assertion is that my client was assaulted first.”

Calvarese remains out of custody on $10,000 bail and will return to court on Aug. 14 for a pre-trial conference. Both he and Odbert declined to comment on the case outside of court.

Calvarese has been with the sheriff’s department since 1994, most recently in the custody division, but was put on administrative duty following the arrest, sheriff’s spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.

He was also profiled in a 2009 documentary, “The Butch Factor,” as a San Francisco sheriff’s deputy. In the documentary, Calvarese spoke about being an openly gay law enforcement officer who works with prison inmates.

District Attorney George Gascon discussed the case briefly with reporters after today’s arraignment.

Gascon said his office “will treat this case no different than any of the domestic violence cases we handle.”

He said, “There’s zero tolerance … it doesn’t matter who the defendant is or who the victim is.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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