Adachi claims videos show police misconduct

(YouTube)
March 3, 2011 12:19:26 AM PST
Surveillance video of two police raids could put a number of San Francisco drug cases in jeopardy. The public defender's office says the images are damning evidence of a handful of officers abusing their badge.

Public defenders say what they revealed Wednesday could have far reaching consequences in drug arrests in the city. They say the six officers not only illegally entered people's homes and arrested them for drug possession, but then lied about it under oath.

"As as public defenders every day we have questions about the way in which police officer gain entrance into homes and apartments, here we have proof," Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

In surveillance video taken Jan. 5 the undercover officers are seen walking down the fifth floor hallway of the residential Henry Hotel on 6th Street. One of the officers, Richard Yik, walks up to the surveillance camera and covers it with his hand.

Another video from Dec. 23 shows police storming another unit in the same hotel. Officers pull one of the residents out in handcuffs. Public defenders say the resident actually gave written consent for the police to enter the building 18 minutes after officers gained entry using a master key.

Though the police report says they knocked and asked permission to enter, public defenders say that too is a lie made by the officers under oath.

"The police have burst into a home and it appears are routinely bursting into homes without warrants and then lying after the fact to protect the fruits of their misconduct," Deputy Public Defender Anne Irwin said.

In both cases, drugs were found inside the units and the residents arrested, but prosecutors and a judge tossed out the charges this week once the videos emerged.

"I can clearly say that most of the police officers in San Francisco do a professional job all the time; we're going to look in to this case," San Francisco Police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

All this happened when now District Attorney George Gascon was police chief. For that reason the public defender wants an outside investigator to come in on the matter. Adachi says not only will all the cases involving the six officers require review, but possibly call the cases from the Henry Hotel, which is known as a hot spot for drug activity.

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