Parking-control officers rally outside Hall of Justice 

Tired of being abused by angry and law-breaking motorists, a crowd of San Francisco parking-contol officers packed the steps of the Hall of Justice on Friday calling for higher bail for a woman accused of assaulting one of them.

Lina Magailalio, 30, is accused of severely beating a parking-control officer who gave her a ticket in the Mission district Nov. 21. Magailalio, enraged at getting the ticket, allegedly followed the officer to 29th Street and Tiffany Avenue, where she attacked and beat the officer, dislocating or breaking the officer’s arm, police reported.

Magailalio initially posted $70,000 bail for three felony counts of assault, battery and threats, but that amount was increased to $100,000 Friday.

At the time of the attack, three other parking control officers were assaulted in the same week, the Metropolitan Transportation Administration reported. In total, 28 parking control officers reported being assaulted last year, up from 17 in 2005.

Lawanna Preston, staff director for Service Employees International Union, which represents the officers, said they were rallying for higher bail, and that the revised figure was acceptable.

After the attacks in late November, MTA director Nathaniel Ford and District Attorney Kamala Harris pledged to push for state legislation that would make assaulting a parking control officer a greater crime than standard assault. Since then, Rep. Mark Leno has adopted the bill, Preston said. He is expected to propose it in mid-February.

Additionally, the MTA has mandated conflict-avoidance training for the officers and requiring them to carry pepper spray, with which they will be trained by the Police Department. Also, the agency is in negotiations with a vendor of cameras, which it will install in the Cushman carts that the officers drive. "I actually think the department is moving on all of our requests," Preston said.

A public-education campaign encouraging people to go through the proper channels to contest a ticket, and not to attack parking-control officers, is still in its planning stage, MTA spokeswoman Kristen Holland said Friday. It is due to debut in the spring.

amartin@examiner.com

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