DA drops 57 cases in San Francisco cops scandal

March 9, 2011 6:16:16 PM PST
The latest police scandal to hit the San Francisco Police Department has resulted in even more fallout. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that he is dropping 57 cases which involved officers under investigation for possible police misconduct.

Public defender Jeff Adachi says the district attorney did the right thing.

"There's no way that a case can be proved in court when you have these kinds of questions about the officers' credibility," said Adachi.

At the request of prosecutors, Judge Ann Bouliane approved the mass dismissal of 42 cases, most of them involving drug arrests. Fifteen cases had already been dropped since these security videos of drug raids surfaced last week.

The dismissals followed a morning news briefing by Gascon who said his office has reviewed pending cases which involved the eight officers now under investigation for possible police misconduct.

"If we believe that we do not have the evidence to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, given the circumstances in what is going on with the officers at this point, then we're dismissing the case," said Gascon.

The growing scandal began last week when the public defender said the videos revealed illegal searches and arrests made in South of Market hotels. Eight plainclothes officers involved in those cases were all from Southern Station. They have been reassigned to desk duty while the FBI and district attorney investigate.

In an attempt to prevent future legal problems, Gascon announced that from now on, his office will provide prosecutors on standby for officers who may need help during police operations.

"There will be someone from the district attorney's office available around the clock for the police department to call and get advice concerning the need for a search warrant and if there is a need, how to structure the search warrant," said Gascon.

Gascon says that each of those cases that were dropped can be re-filed if the circumstances change. Adachi says his office is reviewing cases in which other officers were involved to see if they may have conducted illegal searches and arrests.


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