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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Matthew Grillone, Cyclist in Giants Jersey, Acquitted of Hitting Elderly Pedestrian

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2012 at 7:10 AM

click to enlarge Wearing a Giants jersey is not a crime
  • Wearing a Giants jersey is not a crime

Soon after a Giants home game on Sept. 14, 2011, a bicyclist in an orange Giants jersey, sunglasses, and a helmet hit an elderly pedestrian on Market and Fourth streets, according to witnesses. Minutes later police arrested Matthew Grillone, a cyclist who was wearing an orange Giants jersey -- but no sunglasses, and no helmet.

Still, the District Attorney's Office charged Grillone with a misdemeanor hit and run.

But on Thursday, it took a jury less than a day to decide that the DA had charged the wrong man.

The defense's argument was simple: Wearing an orange Giants jersey on game day is hardly incriminating evidence.

The guilty cyclist blew a red light, hitting the elderly woman as she walked with a cane -- a crime that's been in the news as of late as cyclists have killed or seriously injured at least four pedestrians over the past year.

The bicyclist sped off after the collision, leaving the injured woman behind. An unidentified person tried to chase down the suspect, but couldn't keep up, and lost sight of him.

Police later stopped Grillone, 35, on Market and Fifth streets, a block from where the woman had been hit. Grillone, who was riding home from the ballpark, was wearing a bulky backpack, yet three eyewitnesses and the victim testified that they couldn't say for sure whether the cyclist who had hit the victim had had a backpack.

What they did know for certain was that the guilty cyclist was wearing a helmet and sunglasses.

While Grillone was not wearing sunglasses and a helmet, he was still arrested, in part because he was wearing a Giants jersey and because of his proximity to the scene. Yet neither the victim nor the witnesses could identify Grillone as the cyclist who hit the woman, according to the Public Defender's Office.

"This was a classic case of being at the wrong place at the wrong time," Deputy Public Defender Abigail Rivamonte said in a statement.

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Albert Samaha


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