SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A man who spent months in jail awaiting trial on an assault charge was released after it was determined he was defending himself from sexual assault, the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office said Thursday. Gregory Bolds had been held in jail for five months on a single charge of felony assault from an incident in May of this year.
At the time of his arrest, Bolds told police he was fending off a sexual assault, but they arrested him anyway. His claim of self-defense was never investigated, according to the public defender’s office.
Police had been called to a residential building on May 25 after a neighbor heard a commotion inside an apartment and heard someone yell for help. Responding officers spoke to Bolds, who remained at the scene, telling police he’d fought off a sexual assault from someone he’d met earlier that night.
That officer, according to the public defender’s office, never told their superior and never investigated the claim. Bolds was arrested and accused of assault.
At trial, the neighbor who called police said she was suspicious of Bolds, who is Black, because she had never seen him before. She also admitted that lots of visitors come and go from the building frequently.
The alleged victim in the case, who suffered bruising, refused to testify, according to public defenders.
After five months, a jury deliberated for one day before acquitting Bolds and sending him home. During his incarceration, he lost his job and one of his sons had to drop out of college to work and help pay rent.
“The law says that a person is innocent until proven guilty, but Mr. Bolds was presumed guilty every step of the way until we were able to get in front of a jury,” said SF Deputy Public Defender Anthony Gedeon.