SFPD doesn't want DA's office investigating alleged cases of police misconduct anymore

The agreement which started in 2018, makes the District Attorney's office the lead investigator of all police shootings.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Thursday, February 3, 2022
SFPD ends agreement with DA on police shooting investigations
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San Francisco police have pulled out of an agreement that makes the District Attorney's office the lead investigator of all police shootings.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco police have pulled out of an agreement that makes the District Attorney's office the lead investigator of all police shootings and use-of-force incidents.

The MOU agreement dates back several years and was actually first introduced under then District Attorney George Gascon.

It was renewed with current District Attorney Chesa Boudin just this past July.

"It is a binding agreement that lists, maybe some high level sort of principles. In this particular case, about how the district attorney might investigate an officer-involved shooting or use-of-force complaint," said Brian Hofer, the executive director of Secure Justice.

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SFPD's move Wednesday comes as a department officer is scheduled to stand trial next week for allegedly beating a man with a baton while responding to a domestic violence call back in 2019.

Last month, a DA investigator involved with the case testified that she allegedly felt pressure to withhold evidence.

Now, in a letter to the district attorney, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said the rules of the MOU had been broken and therefore he was terminating the agreement.

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This is something he doubled down on while speaking at the Police Commission meeting Wednesday night.

"Everybody who has anything to do with this MOU and the impacts of it all depend on this being a fair system that we all have confidence in. That's what this is about," Scott said.

The District Attorney's Office also issued a statement of their own Wednesday in response to Scott's letter, saying in part, "It is disappointing, but no coincidence SFPD chose to withdraw from this agreement during the first-ever trial against an on-duty San Francisco police officer for an unlawful beating."

You can read the full statement from the DA's office here:

"Following a string of fatal shootings by SFPD officers, SFDA and SFPD signed a joint MOU in 2019 to ensure that police use of force incidents would be independently investigated so that officers who inflicted unlawful violence would be held accountable. Since the MOU between our office and SFPD went into effect, our office has made enormous progress towards reducing police violence against San Franciscans and particularly people of color. It is disappointing but no coincidence SFPD chose to withdraw from this agreement during the first-ever trial against an on-duty San Francisco police officer for an unlawful beating. SFPD's decision comes a week after an SFPD fatal police shooting in which police falsely characterized the decedent as being in possession of a firearm and weeks after a criminal case was dismissed after officer excessive force came to light. San Franciscans deserve to be safe-including from unwarranted police violence."

The Prosecutor's Alliance of California also weighed in, saying that the agreement between SFPD and the DA's office "ensures police do not lead investigations into their own wrongdoing."

The alliance claims that since the agreement began in 2018, "San Francisco has seen an increase in the number of police officers investigated and prosecuted for unlawful use-of-force enhancing the safety of all San Franciscans."

"It's concerning that the Chief of Police has decided to unilaterally end this model agreement thus returning us to an era wherein police investigate themselves," said Executive Director Cristine Soto DeBerry.