Opening statements began Wednesday in the hit and run trial of San Francisco Police Officer Christopher Kohrs, known popularly as “The Hot Cop of the Castro.”
Kohrs, 40, faces charges of hit and run causing serious permanent injury and hit and run causing injury in a Nov. 29, 2015 North Beach collision that injured two pedestrians, after he allegedly fled the scene on foot. Kohrs, a seven-year veteran of the police force, did not turn himself in until the next day.
Kohrs’ name was known in San Francisco before the collision. A beat cop for the Castro District, he’d been regularly photographed while on the job. A fan page was subsequently created and his reputation only heightened when he participated in charity events including an ice bucket challenge charity event.
Kohrs’ attorney, Peter Furst, said a large crowd of people gathered after the collision, which happened as bars were closing in North Beach.
Furst said that his client “became extremely frightened. He was unarmed, he was alone, in the sense that he did not have other officers with him.”
This fear, Furst implied, was a justifiable reason to flee. And Kohrs did turn himself in at 11 a.m. the next morning — more than seven hours after the incident occured.
Prosecutor Rolando Mazariegos argued that Kohrs did not abide by his legal duty to stay at the scene, call 911 and provide aid to the victims. Calling it a “violent automobile collision,” Mazariegos showed the jury photos of the car complete with a seriously shattered windshield. Pools of blood could be spotted on the asphalt.
“He chose flight over duty,” Mazariegos said.
Kohrs, who is out of custody on $100,000 bail and is on unpaid leave from the San Francisco Police Department, appeared in court Wednesday well dressed, in a navy blue suit, polished brown shoes, and a green tie, flanked by two attorneys.
The trial will continue Thursday.