Just when the furor over San Francisco Police officers busting flophouse residents without warrants was fading away, Public Defender Jeff Adachi yesterday revealed a new video of another allegedly illegal search and arrest, this time in the Richmond District. The video prompted San Francisco Judge Gerardo Sandoval to dismiss marijuana sales charges against the arrested man, who was found with a glass jar full of marijuana and a medical marijuana patient card. The officers had allegedly forced their way into his apartment without consent, which is documented on the video posted above.
Interim Police Chief Jeff Godown did not take warmly to Adachi going public with the latest video and dropped case. The former LAPD officer fired back at a press conference, claiming SFPD is “under attack every day” by Adachi, who would do better to keep such misconduct allegations between his office and SFPD.
“I’m not going to allow people to badmouth this department unless the allegations are true,” Godown told the San Francisco Chronicle this morning. “There isn’t anything I’ve seen based on the videotape or the police report that leads me to believe that we have any issues.”
Adachi started a firestorm at the beginning of this month when he released videos of Southern District narcotics officers using master keys to illegally enter rooms in SoMa residential hotels. More than 70 cases have been dropped by the office of District Attorney George Gascon, who has recused himself because of potential conflicts of interest and turned the probe over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In response to Godown, Adachi issued a terse statement this afternoon that claimed SFPD has “systematic problems” with illegal searches and falsified police reporters. Adachi urged Godown to read the police report as well as the court transcript instead of instinctively backing up his officers. “Chief Godown is relatively new and must come to terms that there is a crisis on his hands,” Adachi’s statement reads. “The people of San Francisco deserve solutions, not denials.”
Matt Gonzales, the chief attorney for the Public Defender’s office, was troubled at about Chief Godown’s remarks on the propriety of the Richmond District incident and arrest:
“The video clearly revealed that officers lied under oath. It was shown to a judge who agreed, dismissing the case because police were not credible. It is troubling to me that our chief of police can watch the same footage and see nothing wrong with these civil rights violations.”
Neither Adachi or Godown appears to be prepared to back down, so expect this war of words to heat up in the days to come.