A lone female cop found herself being attacked by a man while cameras were recording everything, and she quickly realized that she was at the mercy of bystanders. More revealing than the reaction of onlookers, though, is why this police officer was alone.
Geraldo Contreras, a homeless man living on the streets of San Francisco, prompted a call to police after allegedly making racially motivated threats against people in the Chinatown area, according to the NY Post. An Asian officer with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) responded to the call, only to be attacked by the unhinged, homeless man herself — and it was all caught on video.
After allegedly making threats the day before, saying he “specializes in killing Asian people,” Geraldo Contreras was reportedly making threats again, prompting a call to the police on a Friday evening. An unnamed, female Asian officer with the SFPD responded to the call alone and confronted Contreras. A nearby surveillance camera video captured the terrifying moments that followed.
After approaching Contreras, the lone female officer asked him to turn around and put his hands on his head. Initially, Contreras obliged and appeared to be following the officer’s orders. When the officer asked if he had any weapons in his possession, Contreras turned around and proceeded to shove her, launching into a vicious and violent attack.
After wrestling with the officer, who was carrying a bean bag gun across her back, Contreras managed to push her down with both of them falling to the ground. Unable to reach for the weapon with Contreras on top of her and unleashing a brutal assault, the female officer — who appeared to be about half the size of her assailant — was at the mercy of bystanders.
Luckily for the cop, multiple witnesses rush in to help save her, including Michael Waldorf, who had just finished eating dinner with his family at the R&G Lounge on Kearny Street. Quickly jumping to action, Waldorf and several other bystanders tackled Contreras and began hitting him in an attempt to pry him off the officer.
“He’s a big guy. He was not letting go. He had a death grip on her, and he was not letting go,” recalled Waldorf, who said he had previous experience as a crisis intervention volunteer. “He was holding on very tightly to her, squeezing her, squeezing her head and pulling her hair,” Waldorf added. “I saw it as an emergency. She needed our help and she needed it right away,” he continued. “I ran over and immediately tried to free her from his grip — hitting him in the head.”
Although it’s unclear whether he was ever convicted, Geraldo Contreras does have a record of prior arrests, including aggravated assault, elder abuse, and assaults on officers in other parts of California, according to documents obtained by ABC 7’s Dion Lim. That information didn’t sit well with Waldorf. “He should not be let out. Some people are not safe for society and he clearly is not,” Waldorf said, appearing stern. “I know this is just a snapshot of a person’s life, but you have to look at someone’s record and make a judgment.”
Other officers eventually arrived at the scene and Contreras was reportedly arrested, according to The Blaze. The officer, who is said to have sustained a bloody nose and minor injuries, was taken to a hospital. She is alive and well, thanks to four brave bystanders who came to her aid. However, after more troubling facts came to light, we can’t quite say “alls well that ends well.” Instead, we are forced to process a disturbing reality.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association posted the video footage of the terrifying ordeal to its Twitter account with a startling message to the public. “We’ve seen a rise in violent attacks by homeless individuals, including attacks on police officers. We are deeply grateful to these citizens who rushed to our officer’s aide,” the association tweeted. Then, they dropped a disturbing truth bomb, adding, “Our staffing shortage left this officer working alone instead of with a partner.”
We are currently living in a day and age where being a cop isn’t the applauded career it once was. Instead, law enforcement is lambasted in the media and by those who demand we “defund the police.” We have to stop and ask ourselves what an America with fewer officers looks like, and this is our answer: Civilians forced to step up and enter dangerous situations when officers are overwhelmed by criminals. We’re thankful this story had a happy ending, but we’re not naive enough that we don’t realize this could have had a very different outcome.