San Francisco, Calif., Apr 1, 2019 / 03:01 pm (CNA).- An elderly protester who was thrown to the ground and kicked outside a Planned Parenthood facility in San Francisco March 21 is still afraid for his safety, according to the California-based legal group representing him.
According to the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), the 85-year-old victim, identified simply as “Ron,” was peacefully taking part in a 40 Days for Life protest March 21 outside a Planned Parenthood facility.
A bystander’s video captured the moment when an as-yet unidentified attacker stole the victim’s “40 Days for Life” banner. Ron tried to stop the attacker’s bicycle by jamming the stick holding the banner into the spokes of the front wheel, but the attacker knocked him down and kicked him several times, telling him to “stay on the ground, old man, unless you want to get hurt.”
NEW: Video shows 85-year-old man getting kicked outside of a Planned Parenthood in #SanFrancisco. SFPD investigating. Hear from the 85-year-old about what happened, at 11 on @nbcbayarea. pic.twitter.com/d8chXkfjvR
— Ian Cull (@NBCian) March 28, 2019
Ron is “bruised” but back outside Planned Parenthood to pray as of March 27, and says he thinks his attacker needs “therapy” to get help.
“The vicious attack against our elderly client is intolerable,” said Allison Aranda, Life Legal Senior Counsel, in a March 25 statement.
“We will pursue all legal avenues to see that justice is served and that the freedom to speak freely on the public sidewalk without threat of physical violence is protected no matter the message.”
The same attacker had thrown a sign, table and pro-life literature into the street two days earlier, LLDF reports. The attacker had reportedly knocked two peaceful protesters to the ground, including Ron, during that incident as well.
Police took statements from witnesses after the assault and Ron was treated by paramedics at the scene, according to 40 Days for Life campaign director Shawn Carney.
“While the 800,000 volunteers who participate in our peaceful prayer vigils around the world sign a statement of peace and have always been law-abiding, violence from abortion supporters has increased,” Carney said March 25.
“The gentleman who was attacked will not be deterred nor will other volunteers be deterred from peacefully being a voice for the unborn as many in America advocate for late-term abortion and infanticide. The pro-life movement uses science, medical alternatives, and compassion to change hearts on this crucial issue.”
Carney said in a statement that 40 Days for Life is active in “816 cities in 56 countries” and the group has been “blessed to never have an incident like this one before.”
San Francisco police are investigating the matter as an assault, NBC Bay Area reports.
The LLDF also reported that the Planned Parenthood facility has surveillance footage of the attack area, but is “unwilling” to release it or to cooperate with the police investigation.
CNA contacted Planned Parenthood of Northern California to confirm this, and was told by a spokesperson that PPNC “is fully cooperating with the investigation and the footage has been released to SFPD [San Francisco Police Department].” The spokesperson said it would be up to SFPD to decide whether the surveillance footage would be publicly released.