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Skateboarder Not Guilty of Assaulting Police

Off-duty officers allegedly harassed and pursued boarder before he punched them in the face

Skateboarders, meet your hero.

Matthew Hoyt flipped off a pair of off-duty police officers, then punched each of them in the face, after they allegedly harassed and pursued him while he was riding his skateboard through San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin neighborhood.

To top it off, a jury recently found the 23-year-old not guilty of any crimes.

Following seven months of legal problems for the City College of San Francisco student related to the road rage incident, it’s now the skateboarder’s turn to pursue justice through the city’s legal system.

Hoyt says he was riding his skateboard in a bicycle lane through the Tenderloin on his way to San Francisco Pride festivities in the Civic Center on June 26 when a motorist behind him began honking his horn.

Rude words and gestures were exchanged before the driver, who Hoyt says failed to identify himself as a police officer, swerved across lanes and used his car to box the skateboarder in between parked cars.

Assuming that the driver wanted to fight, Hoyt punched him through the open window, and then grabbed his board and scrambled over the car’s hood.

The passenger, also an off-duty officer, got out of the car and Hoyt punched him in the face too.

“When somebody does something like that to you, you don’t think they’re police officers,” Hoyt said.

As Hoyt ran away, the men shouted that they were police officers. One of them tackled Hoyt and arrested him.

“He came up and knee-dropped the back of my head,” Hoyt said.

Following a three-day trial, a jury on Thursday deliberated for several hours before acquitting Hoyt of two misdemeanor charges of battery on a police officer, according to the Public Defender's Office.

Hoyt says he is now pursuing a complaint against the police officers through the department’s Office of Citizen Complaints. "Basically, they just beat me up a bit," he said.

The San Francisco Police Department’s public affairs office did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story on Tuesday.

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