Potrero Hill Resident Attacked on 22-Fillmore Bus
Potrero Hill resident Cheryl Shanks, 51, was riding the 22 bus on her way home from yoga when she was attacked and beaten by a young man last summer. After she boarded the crowded bus near Bryant and 16th streets, Shanks, who has splits on both legs and high blood pressure, requested a seat. None of the passengers responded. Shanks persisted, drawing attention to her injured legs; it’s extremely painful for her to stand for long periods.
According to Shanks, the passengers continued to ignore her increasingly angry and loud requests. Some acted hostile towards her; others laughed. Many passengers started to yell at her to get off of the bus. Finally, a small child in the front of the bus sat on his mother’s lap to make room for Shanks.
After Shanks sat down, some passengers continued to laugh and point at her. Zia, an African-American man standing in the front of the bus admonished his fellow riders. “Why don’t you just leave this poor woman alone,” he said. Shanks engaged in a few more angry comments with other passengers. A man — who could have been African-American or Filipino — walked from the back of the bus to the front, where Shanks was seated, and confronted her. Zia said it looked as though he was intentionally trying to intimidate Shanks by staring at her directly in the eyes and getting close to her face.
According to Zia, Shanks and the man then exchanged words. “What are you going to do about it?” asked Shanks. The next moment, Shanks said “he punched me like Mike Tyson,” He dragged Shanks off the bus and began kicking her in the ribs. Zia jumped from the vehicle to pull the man off of Shanks. Shanks screamed for someone to call the police. Zia held the attacker until police and paramedics arrived.
San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers accepted Zia’s citizen arrest. After hearing witness statements, SFPD released the suspect, determining that there was insufficient evidence to physically place him under arrest.
According to Shanks, the police didn’t take photographs of her injuries, and she didn’t see them handcuff the man who had beaten her. After returning home from the hospital with a black eye and bruises all over her body, she called SFPD to see if the man had been arrested. She was told that the incident had been documented as an assault and battery, but the man who had beaten her was no longer in custody. Shanks was shocked and frightened that there’s a “criminal on the loose.” The SFPD is still investigating the incident. If they gather probable cause they’ll attain an arrest warrant for the suspect.
Shank credited Zia with saving her life. About the man who had beaten her, she said “Although they did not arrest that man, I forgive him. He must be a sick individual and I hope he receives help before this happens to anyone else.”
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