SF man acquitted on assault and battery charges after beer run goes bad 

A San Francisco man was acquitted by a jury of assault and battery charges Tuesday in connection with a beer run gone wrong, the Public Defender's Office said Wednesday.

Michael Rios, 52, was acquitted on charges of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, battery resulting in great bodily injury, and criminal threats, spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said. He faced up to two years in County Jail if convicted, public defender Hien Nguyen said.

The case stemmed from a Feb. 2 incident in which Rios and two other men were drinking beer and hanging out in Rios' Tenderloin hotel room. When they ran out of beer, Rios gave his friend and neighbor, a 27-year-old man, his ATM card and PIN to withdraw money and go buy more beer.

The man returned with less change than Rios had anticipated and he accused the man of violating the “I'll buy if you fly” rule by stealing his cash, Nguyen said. The two argued and the younger man left.

The younger man reported to police that Rios had choked him and threatened him with a knife, and Rios was arrested later while he was walking his dog.

During the course of his trial, Rios' attorney showed various inconsistencies with the accuser's story, Aparton said.

The neighbor gave conflicting accounts of the alleged attack to several different officers and also couldn't remember whether the attack happened in the room or in the hallway. Surveillance footage of the hallway showed no attack, and the third person present that day told police he saw no violence of any kind, Aparton said.

Jurors were not convinced the attack took place and acquitted Rios of the charges.

“Mr. Rios may have trusted him with his ATM card,” Nguyen said, “but the jury could not trust his testimony.”

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