A youth football coach charged with carrying a loaded, unregistered gun was acquitted this week after he said that the gun was dropped in his car by someone attempting to sell it to him, the San Francisco public defender’s office said today. A jury on Thursday acquitted Pasha Ali of a felony charge of carrying a loaded, unregistered gun and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon after deliberating less than three hours, according to the public defender’s office. The charges could have sent him to state prison for three years. Ali, 34, was arrested Feb. 19, 2009 at San Bruno and Silver avenues.
Ali had stopped at a convenience store to get a sandwich when he was approached by an acquaintance trying to sell him marijuana, the public defender’s office said. While they were talking, another man approached and tried to sell Ali a gun, Harris said. As Ali was telling the man he was not interested in buying the gun, the police pulled up and both men fled the scene. Harris said the man with the gun dropped it inside Ali’s car before he ran, and Ali quickly shoved it into a container in his car’s center console. Ali was arrested after police found the gun during a search of the car.
A father and Pop Warner football coach, Ali was supported by Pop Warner officials and his mother, a San Francisco Fire Department battalion chief, who testified to his history of honest behavior during the four-day trial. “Ultimately the jury agreed that this is not what we mean when we talk about someone illegally carrying a gun,” Ali’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Danielle Harris said. “Someone dumped the gun on him and he made a split second decision to avoid the officers seeing a gun within reaching distance and perceiving him as a threat,” Harris said.
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