Group of ‘Furries’ pull man from car, wrestle him to the ground after he hit woman

Fiona Kelliher

The Mercury News

SAN JOSE — First came the man to the rescue. And then came the dinosaur, the tiger and the cowboy.

It was just before midnight Friday in San Jose, and the downtown streets were thick with “furries” — anthropomorphism aficionados dressed in fur costumes — who had poured into the city for San Jose’s annual furry get-together known as FurCon.

Conversations were relaxed as people drank in the night air and cooled off from “suiting” inside fur costumes all day, said Steven Rodriguez, 26, who was taking a smoke break outside the San Jose Marriott hotel.

But suddenly a car screeched to a halt in the middle of South Market Street. And from inside came a woman’s horrified scream — “Get out, get out, get out, get out,” Rodriguez recalled.

“It was pretty intense,” said Rodriguez, a self-described “silent observer” of furry culture who traveled from Azusa in Southern California to attend the convention’s after-hours hotel parties. “We saw the passenger just whaling on her. Just a full-on punch.”

Rodriguez and his friend yanked open the unlocked passenger’s door and began dragging the man out, he said. The driver had been visibly beaten, and as they grabbed hold of her assaulter, he quickly tried to turn his ire onto Rodriguez.

At that moment, a group of about five people — still in their furry suits from the day’s festivities — sprinted over and restrained the man as he attempted to hit Rodriguez.

Among the first on scene was the pink dinosaur, who wrested the suspect by the head and shoulders while a massive tail bobbed in his wake, according to a brief video Rodriguez captured of the encounter. Then a tiger knelt to restrain the man from the torso as a platform-heeled cowboy watched on.

The video ends quickly — blocked by a man in a cat-emblazoned jacket — as the driver took off in another screech of metal, Rodriguez said.

Within a few minutes, San Jose police arrived and took over for the six people restraining the man, confirmed Sgt. Enrique Garcia, who added that the report did not detail the attire of the rescuers.

San Jose resident Demetri Hardnett, 22, was arrested and booked into Santa Clara County jail on suspicion of domestic violence; a preliminary investigation showed that the driver was his girlfriend, Garcia said.

The furries slowly dispersed after giving police statements, Rodriguez said, both disgusted by what they had seen but pleased with the way things played out.

Over the weekend, posts about the incident accrued thousands of views from both furry supporters and those unfamiliar with the subculture — many of whom were tickled to see a group of befurred rescuers tackling an assaulter on city streets.

“It happened very, very fast and it was just a horrible thing to see,” Rodriguez said. “But overall, everyone was very happy that we stepped in.”


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