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SF D.A. Will Investigate Video That Public Defender Says Reveals Police Misconduct, Perjury

| March 2, 2011
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Update Thursday Mar 3: San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said his office will investigate the charges of police misconduct made yesterday by Public Defender Jeff Adachi. KTVU has a video and text report.

Earlier post
Public Defender Jeff Adachi said today that surveillance video from the Henry Hotel in San Francisco shows that SFPD narcotics officers falsified reports “in order to justify searching residences without warrants or consent.” (Full press release) The drugs arrests, one made on Dec 23 and the other on Jan 5, were both thrown out in court. The police department says it has launched an investigation.

Here’s the first video, which the Public Defender’s Office describes this way:

In the Dec. 23 incident, Officer Arshad Razzak states in a police report that officers knocked on the resident’s door, announced themselves and waited for a response. Hearing none, he wrote, officers slightly opened the door with a master key. Without entering the unit, officers then told the female resident they were freezing the room until they could obtain a search warrant, Razzak wrote. The woman then gave them verbal permission to search the premises while officers contacted headquarters and asked a unit to respond with a consent form she could read, according to the police report. A man inside the woman’s room was arrested after officers claimed to find heroin and crack on his person.

The surveillance video, however, tells a different story. In it, four narcotics officers – Razzak, Yick, Madrid and Forneris — are seen using a master key to barge directly into the room without knocking or obtaining consent.

Charges against the man were dropped by prosecutors this week after the surveillance footage was obtained by the Public Defender’s Office.

Here’s the incident report that police filed for this arrest.

The Public Defender’s Office describes its view of the second incident (video here):

In the Jan. 5 case, Officer Richard Yick states in a police report that officers were met in the hallway by a woman who voluntarily opened the door to her room. A man who came to the door told officers he was on probation, which police then confirmed with dispatch, Yick wrote, before entering and searching the room. After heroin was found, both the man and woman were arrested.

In the video, however, Yick is seen covering the surveillance camera with his hand while his fellow officers—Razzak, Kane and Elias–approach the room. The officers then demand the female resident open her door. All four officers then storm into the unit.

A judge dismissed the case Monday after viewing the video, said the woman’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Tal Klement.

Here’s the police incident report for that arrest.

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Category: Law

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