Man Charged in Tenderloin Choking Over Beer Money Acquitted

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A man has been acquitted from all charges stemming from a choking accusation over change from a beer purchase, according to San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Michael Rios 52, was accused of chocking, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, battery resulting in serious bodily injury, and criminal threats.  The complaining witness and Rios were friendly neighbors in a Tenderloin hotel and were drinking together the night of February 2nd.  The 27-year-old man claimed Rios gave him his ATM card with the instruction to go purchase more beer for he, the complaining witness, and another man.

When the 27-year old returned with less change than Rios was expecting, he accused him of violating the ‘I’ll buy you fly’ rule–an unspoken agreement that one man pays for the beer, the other retrieves it.  An argument over the missing cash ensued, and the 27-year-old left.

He later called police saying that Rios had choked him and threatened him with a knife.

Due to inconsistencies, lack of support from the other witness and no visible injuries on the evidence photos, jurors deliberated less than 45 minutes before ruling Rios not-guilty, according to Adachi.

“The complaining witness simply was not credible,” Deputy Public Defender Hien Nguyen said. “Mr. Rios may have trusted him with his ATM card, but the jury could not trust his testimony.”


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