The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has awarded $46,000 to a man who was hit by an SUV driven by Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon during a 2018 protest outside the top prosecutor’s former Bay Area home.
Observers unanimously approved the settlement last week for San Francisco activist Victor Picazzo, who sued Gascon for alleged negligence, assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, and violations of free speech and assembly.
Gascon, who was then San Francisco’s district attorney, has not been charged with any criminal offenses in connection with the incident.
His lawyer, John F. Lee, said Thursday that Picazzo, who is battling cancer, is not satisfied with the amount of the settlement, but believes it will be difficult for him to face trial because of his health problems. “It’s not a good time to go for testing,” he said.
Alex Bastian, a special adviser to Gascon, declined to comment on the deal.
Gascon took office as District Attorney of Los Angeles County in December 2020, campaigning as a social justice reformer, determined to prosecute dishonest and racist police officers.
Lee said Picazzo was among about 25 protesters who gathered outside Gascon’s home on June 17, 2018 to protest San Francisco’s refusal to prosecute police officers who killed three people of color .
Gascon, accompanied by his wife, drove a sports utility vehicle out of their garage as protesters gathered around his SUV and while Picazzo stood on the sidewalk that read “Charge Killer Cops,” Lee said. Gascon’s security details were also present.
Gascon partially stopped his vehicle on the road and on the sidewalk as Picazzo and other demonstrators walked in front of the SUV with their signs, the suit says.
Picazzo began to move slowly as Gascon rammed his SUV and hit him in the legs, causing a grievous injury, according to the suit. Gascon then hit the road, stayed for a while and left the scene, the complaint said.
The incident was captured on video and posted on Twitter.
Block Party at Da Gascon’s.. Gascon leaves his garage and as we grab the spot he basically ran over Victor Picazo in his SUV.. In front of the kids.. this coward needs to go.!!! pic.twitter.com/VmLVc1F1Ce
— Quip (@EQUIPTO) 17 June 2018
Following the incident, Gascon obtained a restraining order in December 2018 to keep Picazzo away from him and his wife.
Gascon alleged in the restraining order petition that Picazzo “jumped in front of my car and hit my car” when he attempted to exit his garage during the incident, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
According to the newspaper, Gascon requested the restraining order in response to increased protests by Picazzo and others at his home and San Francisco’s Hall of Justice.
“Based on the conduct of these individuals, I contacted law enforcement at my home to respond,” Gascon wrote in the restraining order petition, the examiner reported. “Plus, I installed a new security monitoring system and a fence in front of my house.”
Video of an incident, posted to Instagram in September 2018 by an organization called Frisco Cop Watch, shows Gascon picking up a piece of watermelon from the stairs of his home and throwing it at protesters. One person in the crowd reacts by throwing the watermelon back at Gascon.
Readers may find offensive language in the video.