by Ethan Biando
San Francisco – A retired San Francisco police officer of 34 years, 63-year-old Dean Taylor, chased an 11-year-old down, grabbed him by the neck and forced him into a car and threatened to “put a bullet” in his head in retaliation for a neighborhood doorbell ditch prank, police say.
Authorities arrested Taylor the night of Feb. 12 after a 911 call for a “suspicious circumstance” in the 400 block of Point San Pedro Road detailed an altercation between an older man and a young boy. The caller said the man aggressively pulled the child into his car before speeding off.
Police first canvassed the area for suspects when a woman flagged them down, saying her son had been accosted by an elderly man.
The boy claimed Taylor “grabbed him by the neck and forced him to the ground” before threatening to shoot him in the head. Upon observation, the victim showed redness and irritation around his neck.
The 11-year-old victim, currently unnamed, told authorities that he and his friends were playing “doorbell ditch,” in which juveniles ring neighborhood doorbells and run away. Mr. Taylor allegedly exited his home and chased after the boys in his car, cornering the 11-year-old.
Spokesman for the San Rafael Police, Dan Fink, said the boy claimed Taylor “grabbed him by the neck, and forced him to the ground” before threatening to shoot him in the head. The victim, Fink said, showed redness and irritation around his neck. No medical attention was required.
Upon noticing officers at his door, Taylor immediately asked if they were there “because of the kids,” and told them he was “fed up” with the juveniles ringing his doorbell at least four times. Taylor admitted to chasing the children but denied grabbing the 11-year-old by his neck or making any threat.
Taylor, who is now a high school golf coach, retired from the San Francisco Police Department in 2013. He pled not guilty to criminal charges including child abuse, kidnapping and criminal death threats.
His attorney, Tony Brass, released a statement to media officials: “On the night in question, Mr. Taylor found himself at home recovering from a recent and very painful surgery, while he was subjected to yet another night of interrupted sleep due to teens pounding on his door as a form of prank. Needless to say, this event is an aberration for Mr. Taylor, a man with a spotless record who was home minding his own business struggling with his painful recovery.”
Taylor spent one night in the Marin County Jail and was released Feb. 13 on a $100,000 bond.
Ethan Biando is a freelance journalist from Sacramento. His writing focuses on crime and justice as well as issues of racial inequality. Find him on Twitter @ethanb822.