gavel.jpgA woman accused of abandoning her newborn baby in San Francisco’s Bayview District last week pleaded not guilty to child cruelty and neglect charges today.

Nneka Nash, 39, pleaded not guilty in San Francisco Superior Court to felony willful cruelty to a child and misdemeanor failure to provide care to a child.

The charges stem from an incident that began at about 2 a.m. last Wednesday, when officers responded to a request for a welfare check at Third Street and McKinnon Avenue and found a man holding a bloody baby wrapped in a jacket, police Chief Greg Suhr said Monday.

The officers, Matt Cloud and Steve Gritsch, have been hailed as heroes by Suhr and other city officials for their quick actions to save the baby boy, who was unresponsive when police first encountered him.

The officers called for an ambulance, then decided to take the child to the hospital themselves rather than wait. Cloud drove the patrol car while Gritsch–a former emergency medical technician in the North Bay–performed CPR on the baby.

Upon arrival at San Francisco General Hospital, the young boy was revived and is expected to survive, police said.

Other officers found Nash a short time later and also took her to the hospital. She was arrested upon her release, and was uncooperative during her initial appearance in court today.

After entering the plea and being ordered by Judge Samuel Feng to stay away from the baby and to steer clear of a two-square-block area in the Bayview, Nash appeared defiant, saying to Feng, “I want to know when I’ll get out.”

The judge told Nash to talk to her attorney from the public defender’s office, and she was taken back to county jail, where she remains in custody on $20,000 bail.

“This is just a sad situation,” Feng said.

Nash will return to court on Wednesday morning to set a date for the preliminary hearing in the case.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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