Police, Penn Square Off

Times Staff Writers

Sagon Penn and a San Diego police officer squared off during a tense domestic disturbance late Thursday night in which the officer said he pulled out his baton and faced Penn while he investigated allegations that Penn had beaten up his girlfriend.

For Penn, twice acquitted of killing a San Diego police agent and wounding another, the incident Thursday night marked the second time in two weeks that he has been investigated by police for assault.

He was allegedly involved in a fight April 30 with a National City grocer, but a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office announced Friday that criminal charges would not be filed against Penn in connection with that incident.

And it is unlikely that charges will result from the Thursday-night altercation because police said the girlfriend, Donna Parks, is unwilling to prosecute Penn.

Police said they were called about 11:30 p.m. to the 4300 block of Idaho Street, where a neighbor had reported a fight. When they arrived, police said, they saw Parks being pushed into her upstairs apartment by a young man, whom they did not at first recognize to be Penn.

Officers Fausto J. Gonzalez and David L. Landman said they noticed swelling on Parks' face and head. The officers said she told them that Penn had hit her during an argument and that she wanted to go to the hospital.

Gonzalez, in his report, said he was helping Parks to leave the apartment with her baby so that they could go to a hospital when the man suddenly came between them.

"I told the black male to please be quiet and to shut up because we were trying to solve the problem and not make it worse," Gonzalez said in the report. "The black male became upset and told me not to look in the house and started pointing his finger at me.

"I told him not to point the finger at me in a threatening manner, and for him to maintain his cool. The male got close to me and started raising his voice. I took out my baton and grabbed it with my right hand.

"The male quickly yelled out that I had taken my 'stick' and would probably hurt him."

Left Apartment

Gonzalez said Parks also urged the man to be quiet. Gonzalez said the man then left and slammed the door, but returned a few seconds later, ringing the doorbell to get inside. Because he was not allowed back in, he stood outside and screamed at police, Gonzalez said.

The officer said he began escorting Parks outside, and, when they reached the bottom of the stairs, emotions heightened again.

"The male came face to face with me and told me that I was a minority son of a bitch and that I reminded him of someone from some time ago as he stared at my name tag," Gonzalez said in the report.

"As we were walking past him I still had my baton in my right hand and he was being pulled inside by the neighbor. I took a better look at his face and recognized him as Sagon Penn. There was something different about him. Later I found out that he was wearing blue contact lenses."

Penn Left Scene

The officers said they left the scene with Parks, returning later to the apartment only to find that Penn was no longer there.

Neither Penn, 26, nor Parks, 24, could reached for comment Friday.

According to the police report, Parks repeatedly said she did not want to seek charges against Penn.

"She did not want anything done because she just wanted to protect him," the report said. "She said that she felt sorry for him and was just trying to help him."

Penn's father, Thomas Penn, said he was with Sagon Penn shortly after the incident when his son again became aggressive.

He said they were sitting in a car about 1:30 a.m. Friday on El Cajon Boulevard talking to Sagon Penn's grandfather in another car when Sagon Penn suddenly began shouting and criticizing the San Diego Police Department.

"He got mad," the elder Penn said. "He was hanging out the window and hollering obscenities. He had just had another run-in with a police officer and that really scared him."

Thomas Penn said he and his son returned home and were met by two other officers in their front yard. He said those officers were investigating the yelling incident on a complaint of disturbing the peace, but no arrests were made.

Earlier Accident

Sagon Penn had contact with San Diego police officers a third time when he and Parks were involved in an non-injury accident about 2:30 p.m. Thursday near California 163 and Washington Street. Penn flagged down a police officer, who notified the California Highway Patrol.

In the National City incident, police said Penn allegedly struck 13-year-old Hamsad Farha over the head with a stick outside the Valley Produce Market on Highland Avenue.

Linda Miller, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's Office, said prosecutors in the South Bay office had reviewed results of an investigation by National City police and determined that "there were evidentiary problems that could not be overcome."

Miller would not specify what the problems were, but she said it was unclear who was telling the truth about the incident.

She said the victim's father, store owner Taisir Farha, called police about the fight but later requested that no charges be filed.

The Farha family declined to comment Friday.

Penn was charged with killing Police Agent Thomas Riggs and wounding Agent Donovan Jacobs and a civilian ride-along in 1985. He later was acquitted of the charges in two trials.

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