Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Trial ordered in hate crime case

NEWS


s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com

Arturo Salvador Pleitez (Photo: Courtesy SFPD)
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A San Francisco man with an extensive criminal history was ordered to stand trial this week after allegedly threatening a lesbian couple and their daughter recently in the Mission district.

Arturo Salvador Pleitez, 54, was held to answer on two felony charges of making criminal threats with a hate crime enhancement, Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval found after a preliminary hearing Monday, August 11, said Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.

Bastian has said the charges stem from a July 28 incident at Arizmendi Bakery at 1268 Valencia Street. Pleitez allegedly "ran up on" the couple and their 2-year-old daughter, threatened them, and "made disparaging remarks about the victims' sexual orientation," he said.

San Francisco Police Captain Daniel Perea, who heads Mission Station, told the Bay Area Reporter that Pleitez allegedly said, "You should read the Bible. You're going to hell," and that "he was going to fuck them up." Perea said he didn't have immediate access to the police report and didn't recall what exactly the derogatory terms had been. He said an off-duty firefighter who was at the bakery intervened.

Pleitez had originally been charged with another count of making criminal threats and a hate crime enhancement, but Assistant District Attorney Charles Bisesto dismissed them due to a lack of evidence.

In emailed comments after the hearing, Deputy Public Defender Michelle Tong said, "We don't jail people who make insolent comments. Mr. Pleitez's remarks did not rise to the level of criminal threats, and more importantly, they were not motivated by bias against anyone's sexual orientation. Our First Amendment freedom includes the protection of unpopular speech."

Referring to comments such as Tong's, Perea said, "Tell that to that 2-year-old kid that it's just words."

 

'Serious threat'

Perea, who said he's "had to deal with" Pleitez himself, said, "The guy is a real serious threat to public safety in the Mission district."

At Pleitez's arraignment, Assistant District Attorney Karen Catalona said Pleitez has had 71 felony contacts and 174 misdemeanor contacts. (There may be multiple contacts for a single arrest.) He also has two prior state prison sentences, Catalona said. She pointed to a 2010 San Francisco Examiner story that said Pleitez's previous arrests had included incidents in which he'd allegedly assaulted police officers and charges of domestic violence, attacks with weapons, and robbery.

Tong said that Pleitez had "many, many arrests" with "no convictions."

Some people in the Mission have obtained restraining orders against Pleitez, according to court records, with at least three of those coming since 2012.

In a restraining order request filed May 13, Connie Ramirez Weber, 93, said that Pleitez "shouted obscenities" at her, threatened her and her son-in-law, and came to her home three separate times. The son-in-law had reported to police that Pleitez had driven into a garage Weber owns.

Pleitez "appeared drunk" at each incident, she wrote, and "I am afraid for my safety and health."

She said Pleitez accused her of reporting the garage crash, in which police arrested him for driving under the influence, the records say.

In his report on the April wreck near Virgil and 26th streets, an officer who responded to the crash wrote that during sobriety tests, "Pleitez stated he had to pee, walked about three feet" away "and began urinating on the wall." After he was taken to a police station, he yelled "Fuck you" at officers "numerous times." Pleitez was cited for three vehicle code violations. It's not clear from the report when he was released.

A judge granted Weber's restraining order request in June. It expires in June 2019.

Told of the current charges against Pleitez, Weber said, "He's going to hurt someone one of these days, and then it's too late." She said, "He should be locked up for a long time. I don't know why they keep letting him out."

In a restraining order request filed in October, a 42-year-old man who lived with his family on South Van Ness Avenue wrote that in July, Pleitez "showed up in front of my house, on top of the stairs where there was no light. He scared my family and I because he was hiding and once he saw me he told me what he always tells my family and I – that we should leave the neighborhood because we're Indians and that he is going to kill us." The man wrote his 3-year-old son "is beginning to get scared."

A judge granted the order, which is set to expire in December 2016. The man couldn't be reached for comment.

Through a petition for a restraining order filed in August 2012, representatives of a grading and paving company wrote that Pleitez had "repeatedly appeared" at a job site one day, "kicked over safety devices" and equipment, and "hit two employees and threatened to return with a gun to shoot and kill employees."

Police responded three times, and on the third time "detained Mr. Pleitez and took him from the site." The records don't state he was booked into custody.

In his response, Pleitez, who said that he was homeless, wrote that a worker had hit him "on my lips" after he knocked over a safety device. "Please believe me," he said, adding that he "never" hit anybody "multiple times" and had never threatened the employees.

A judge granted an order through June 2012, instructing Pleitez to stay away from several locations, including job sites.

Pleitez is in custody on $150,000 bail. His next court date is August 25.

Perea, the police captain, invited anyone who's interested in Pleitez's trial or who has had experiences with Pleitez to contact him at Daniel.Perea@sfgov.org.

 






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