Public defender Jeff Adachi says the video shows police lied in their report about what happened at the Jefferson Hotel last December. Five days after Christmas, undercover officers arrested 48-year-old Fernando Santana, accusing him of possessing crack cocaine for sale.
The hotel video shows officers entering Santana's room at the single occupancy hotel. Santana insists he never gave his permission for the search, but the officers went in anyway. When the officers walked out one of them can be seen carrying a black duffle bag. Adachi says police took that from Santana, but never checked it into evidence or reported it. Santana says it was filled with Christmas presents including an iPod, DVDs and new clothes.
"Actually this is one of the hats that were brand new, they had tags on them, $25 apiece; I got them for Christmas and never imagined it would be police officers that did it, I thought it was staff," Santana said.
Adachi says the video shows a pattern of police misconduct.
"This is a continuation of what we've seen in comparing video evidence to police reports," Adachi said.
A month ago, Adachi's office released videos from another single occupancy hotel showing police officers entering a suspect's room without a search warrant. That video has led to an FBI investigation.
"In every single instance where we've been able to match video with a police report we have found police officers are committing perjury," Adachi said.
Wednesday afternoon, newly appointed police Chief Greg Suhr responded by ordering Internal Affairs to drop their other assignments and investigate the allegation.
"This situation will play out as soon as possible and I will consider the officers innocent until proven guilty; if they did do something untoward, they will be held responsible," Suhr said.
Narcotics charges against Santana were dropped last week after a police officer involved in the arrest failed to show up in court to defend the search of Santana has his hotel room.