The San Francisco police officer known as the "Hot Cop of the Castro" offered a defense in court Wednesday attempting to explain why he fled the scene after hitting two pedestrians with his car while off-duty in 2015.
The officer, whose real name is Christopher Kohrs, said he felt threatened by a "very aggressive" crowd since people recognized him as a police officer due to his online fame, his attorney said, according to SFGate.com. The prosecution, meanwhile, argued Kohrs was simply trying to avoid getting in trouble.
"Thousands and thousands of people knew him," his lawyer Peter Furst said in court, according to SFGate. "It was a good thing in the beginning, but in the context of this case, not so much."
Kohrs was a bit of a viral sensation after a resident posted a picture of him online, earning him the playful nickname. Soon he had a Facebook page dedicated to him, news crews following him around and BuzzFeed dubbing him the "hottest cop ever," a 2015 column in San Jose's The Mercury News noted.
Then came the accident. Kohrs was behind the wheel of his personal Dodge Charger in 2015 with his brother and a friend after being at a club when he struck two pedestrians. The accident took place at 3 a.m. local time and was serious enough to smash the windshield, according to SF Weekly.
"Oh shit, oh shit, what do we do?" Kohrs' friend, Norman Banks, remembered saying, according to SF Weekly. The so-called Hot Cop fled the scene on foot, leaving behind his brother and friend . Kohrs, who was apparently the designated driver for his group that night, reportedly took nearly eight hours to turn himself in.
According to SFGate, one of the victims who was struck by the car, Frank Vilches, nearly died and racked up some $600,000 in medical bills, a lawsuit against the city and Kohrs claimed.
Kohrs' lawyer claimed to the jury that his client fled the scene because an angry crowd of 100 people, claiming some of the folks from the "dangerous neighborhood" were yelling "It’s the Hot Cop! F--k the police!" according to SFGate.
"He chose flight over duty," Prosecutor Rolando Mazariegos said in court, according to SF Weekly.
Kohrs was placed on administrative leave from the police force and has pleaded not guilty to his charges of hit and run causing injury and hit and run causing serious permanent injury.