San Francisco News

SFPD video scandal grows, jeopardizes cases

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dozens of suspected drug dealers are being released from jail, as Public Defender Jeff Adachi rolls out another video showing alleged police misconduct.

On Friday at the San Francisco Hall of Justice, 26 drug cases were dismissed, bringing the total so far to 119 cases that have been thrown out because of alleged police misconduct. There are also 9,600 cases involving these same officers are also pending. The allegations of police misconduct, which include perjury and theft, are being made by public defender Jeff Adachi and once again, he released a surveillance video -- the seventh in the past three months.

In the video, a man in a white T-shirt was suspected by police for selling crack cocaine. The video shows an undercover officer attempting to make a buy. In his report, the officer swore under penalty of perjury that the suspect had a rock of cocaine in his mouth wrapped in plastic that he spit out and then handed it to a second man who then delivered it to the undercover police officer.

"That never happened. They say that there was a suspected base rock cocaine in his palm, that never happened," said Adachi.

Adachi told reporters, look again at the man in the white T-shirt.

"His hand is in his pocket and his other hand is holding the phone," said Adachi.

He never hands off a piece of rock cocaine or anything else. The case was dismissed and on Friday the district attorney decided to dismiss 26 more involving the same officers from the Mission Station.

"We have already dismissed six other cases earlier this week and we will continue to review other cases that are involving this group of officers from Mission," said District Attorney George Gascon.

Adachi says seven officers from the Mission Station have been placed on administrative leave. Department-wide, 119 cases have been dismissed by the district attorney because of alleged police misconduct.

"I think that he's airing on the side of caution, he can rebook the cases again once our investigation is finished if he thinks that's appropriate to do so," said San Francisco Chief Greg Suhr.

Suhr says the video released on Friday by the public defender is a year old and the incident was investigated by a civil review board.

"They did find that there was inappropriate behavior, but I don't think it rises to the level as suggested by Mr. Adachi," said Suhr.

The stepfather of one of the suspects whose case was dismissed Friday, told reporters police kicked in the door of his stepson's room and walked out with money a camera and two new iPods.

"But they forget this -- the earphones. They forgot it, but they took all the rest of the stuff," said Javier Tenorio, a stepfather.

Not the first time that the officers, the undercover team from the Mission Station, has been accused of stealing.

Chief Suhr said Internal Affairs is investigating. The officers involved are talking and any officer guilty of misconduct will be disciplined.

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Tags:
SFPD, Jeff Adachi, greg suhr, san francisco news, mark matthews
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