A San Francisco cop enduring a pummeling from a “crazed” Muni fare evader Wednesday was fortunate that the attack happened outside a martial arts academy.
Hero jiu-jitsu instructor Pedro Arrigoni came to the cop’s rescue, putting the suspect into a choke hold and forcing him into submission at around 1 p.m., police said.
The 24-year-old Portola resident said he had just finished teaching a class at the AB Mixed Martial Arts Academy at 2975 San Bruno Ave. when he saw the suspect had mounted the cop after unleashing a flurry of punches.
Police say 23-year-old Paris Augusta assaulted the cop while trying to avoid a fare evasion citation. The police officer, joined by a reserve officer, had done a routine fare inspection on the bus, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said. Augusta was escorted off the bus after he could not show proof of payment, Dangerfield said.
Augusta allegedly walked away from the officer, trying to avoid a citation. The cops twice commanded him to stop, but he would not listen, Dangerfield said.
Finally, one of the cops chased after him. When the officer placed his hand on Augusta’s shoulder, Augusta allegedly whipped around and started punching him, Dangerfield said. He hit the officer “several times in the head and face.” He then charged at the cop and tackled him to the ground, police said.
“Meanwhile, a witness came to help pull the suspect off the officers,” he said.
That witness was Arrigoni, who has been practicing martial arts his whole life.
Arrigoni said he used a choke hold to subdue Augusta, whom police described as “crazed.” “When he was about to pass out, he said, ‘I give up, I give up,’” Arrigoni said.
The two officers then took the subdued 5-foot-9, 166-pound Augusta into custody. He was booked for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest, Dangerfield said.
The bleeding cop suffered minor injuries in the attack, Dangerfield said.
“I don’t hit people, I don’t box,” Arrigoni said. “I do Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Once you have the guy under your control, you don’t have to do anything more.”
Ester Basilio, who works at the academy and is the owner’s sister, said she was not surprised Arrigoni would jump in to help.
“That’s just him,” Basilio said. “I wouldn’t say that that was the first time he’s jumped in to help a friend or stranger.”
Arrigoni said he tries to coax troubled neighborhood kids to learn jiu-jitsu, saying the art form teaches respect and nonevasive fighting tactics. He believes all San Francisco cops should be trained in jiu-jitsu.