A San Francisco police officer who was caught on video grabbing a woman’s groin is set to face trial next month, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Officer Michael Herrera was charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery in the 2021 incident and is set to go to trial on May 5. He has been with the San Francisco Police Department since 2018 and was assigned to Richmond Station at the time.
While the Brooke Jenkins administration has chosen to keep the case open, her office dismissed Boudin’s charges against another police officer, who faced a manslaughter count in relation to a fatal 2017 shooting.
On Dec. 11, 2021, Herrera was at the Western-themed bar Westwood SF after a department event, according to court documents.
According to prosecutors, the woman, who was at the bar for a caroling event, asked if she could sit in the same booth as Herrera. He obliged, and they started talking about his work as an officer.
But their interaction became tense after he took her drink and downed it, court records said. He only laughed at her when she asked why he had taken her drink, according to records.
Still, she got another drink and returned to keep talking, and he showed her photos of the holiday party he had come to the bar to attend, court records referring to the police investigation allege.
Then Herrera grabbed her inner thigh, and she swatted away his hand, prosecutors allege.
“You can’t touch me like that,” she told him.
According to prosecutors, when she got up to leave because she was feeling uncomfortable, Herrera grabbed her jacket, and they played tug of war with it until he finally let go. But he followed her to the bar, where he grabbed her groin.
“What the f— did you do,” she said, according to court documents. She then told the bartender, “Holy f—, he just grabbed my p—.” That statement was corroborated by the bartender, who was later interviewed by police.
She then called the police and waited outside with her husband, who had lost sight of his wife inside the bar during the altercation.
Video retrieved from the scene did not capture the interaction in the booth but did record the moment Herrera grabbed her groin.
Herrera, who had been drinking, was arrested.
Herrera is still employed with the department. He was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15, 2021, according to the police department.
Tony Brass, who is representing Herrera, did not respond to a request for comment.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org