Jail time for man who triggered pizzeria melee

The young man who led a group attack that left two San Franciscans unconscious in a pool of their own blood was sentenced to six months in county jail on Friday, April 27.

Andrew Crawford also received three years probation, was mandated to serve 100 hours of community service — service related to San Francisco’s Jewish community — and will undergo anger management programs. With good behavior and participation in a Sheriff’s Department program, he could be remanded to home detention after only two months.

Prior to the Oct. 15, 2005 assault, Crawford had made several loud, anti-Semitic comments at San Francisco’s Pizza Pino restaurant, where Josh Feinerman and Cameron Matthews were dining, according to an employee and the two victims.

Feinerman took exception to the comments and identified himself as a Jew. When he and Matthews, a non-Jew, later left the restaurant, Crawford and several other men set upon them. Crawford was arrested on the scene, but the other attackers scattered and were never apprehended. At the time of the attack, Crawford was 24 years old and Feinerman and Matthews were both 23.

The sentence was lighter than victims would have liked, and also fell short of the severity the Anti-Defamation League had suggested.

Crawford in March pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a deadly weapon or force likely to produce great bodily injury stemming from the attack. The maximum jail time would have been one year. Crawford’s attorney, James Collins, had argued for home detention or, at most, three months in county jail.

“An adequate sentence in my mind would have been a year in jail,” said Marc Feder, a San Francisco mediator and ADL board member present at the sentencing.

On the other hand, he said, “it does send the message that if you engage in a brutal beating, you will serve jail time. That is important.”

Feder was pleased that Crawford’s service will be directed toward the Jewish community even though prosecutors opted to drop hate crime charges because of lack of evidence.

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi is the managing editor at Mission Local. He is a former editor-at-large at San Francisco magazine, former columnist at SF Weekly and a former J. staff writer.