Suspect in hit-and-run that injured San Francisco cop pleads not guilty

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The man suspected of running down a San Francisco police officer pleaded not guilty Friday in court. The suspect who calls himself Willie Flanigan has been charged with attempted murder, among other charges.

RELATED: Suspect in custody after SF cop hurt in hit-and-run

Police officers from different stations waited outside the courtroom as the man accused of running down Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel made his first court appearance.

The suspect goes by several names -- including Maurquise Johnson, but Friday he corrected the judge and gave another name -- Willie Flanigan.

A public defender was appointed in the case, which has many witnesses.

"There is going to be video -- I'm sure witnesses, statements, multiple statements, and interviews. And the lives, it's irresponsible for me to comment on very much until I've seen all of that," said Public Defender Alex Lilien.

RELATED: Friends say cop hurt in hit-and-run 'exemplifies what SFPD is all about'

In court, Flanigan interrupted his attorney several times and objected when bail was set at $10 million, saying he was a non-violent offender and called the judge's action "racist."

According to court documents, Flanigan was recently convicted of posessing drugs and served 67 days in county jail.

"We've ordered the files. I can't at this point t ell you anything about this criminal history," said Martin Halloran, who is with the Police Officer's Association. "He's out -- releases or on probation. This happens again and again."

On Wednesday, the injured officer was assisting others near Turk Street and Van Ness Avenue when police say Flanigan hit him.

He was driving a stolen SUV.

Flanigan eventually got rid of the car after the hit-and-run and was later arrested in the Tenderloin.

The injured officer remains in intensive care.

RELATED: SF cop hurt in hit-and-run, suspect identified

"He is certainly doing better than he was Wednesday," said Halloran. "I'll put it to you that way."
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