An ordinary afternoon of food, drinks and football in Russian Hill turned into a fracas when an alleged serial stalker of women and girls showed up at the outdoor parklet of Greens Sports Bar on Polk Street on Sunday, prompting a confrontation and a police response that some witnesses found unsatisfying.
A man who appeared to be Bill Gene Hobbs, an alleged sexual predator described in recent San Francisco Chronicle articles, ordered a drink and sat by himself before behaving strangely toward other patrons, according to witnesses.
“It was really awkward and weird,” said a bouncer at Greens, who gave the name Ben. “Then we cut him off and told him that he couldn't get another beer, which is when he started trying to pick a fight with me to get back in the bar.”
The man grew agitated and attempted to push his way back into the bar, and then began “screaming at us” while recording the interaction, said the bouncer. An employee at the bar called the police, who responded roughly 45 minutes later.
Meanwhile, people at Greens and other pedestrians identified the man as Hobbs, who at 6 feet 4 inches and bearing a tattoo reading “evil” carries a distinctive physical presence.
Hobbs has a significant criminal history, having been accused of trespassing, false imprisonment and battery dating back years in San Francisco according to The Chronicle's Heather Knight.
In December 2020, Hobbs allegedly followed and grabbed a 15-year-old girl and spent time in jail before Superior Court Judge Russell Roeca dismissed the case. Hobbs has also been the subject of numerous posts on Nextdoor and Facebook by women who say he harassed, followed or grabbed them.
Hana Hofeld, who was near Greens Sports Bar on Sunday, said she recognized Hobbs from media reports and that her friend had been assaulted by him in the Marina District.
“I’m so confused,” said Hofeld upon watching responding officers talk to the man at the corner of Polk and Green streets without making an arrest. The man identified as Hobbs grew argumentative with the officers before running away at roughly 3 p.m.
To the dismay of some in the area who were disturbed by the man’s presence, responding officers told witnesses that they could not make an arrest because the man hadn’t committed any crime.
In a statement, a police department spokesperson said that the officers responded to a report of possible trespassing but that they "did not have probable cause to arrest the subject."
Ben, the bouncer, told The Standard that it was “odd to watch somebody terrorize an entire group of people for about 30 minutes and then just have a nice little talking-to by the cops and walk away from it.”
“I understand the unfortunate reasons why putting him in jail for tonight and then letting him go tomorrow doesn't really change much,” he said. “They need to put him in a psychiatric ward, not a jail. But that's a bigger question [than] you or me can solve right now.”
Annie Gaus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org