San Francisco’s police union has called upon the city’s police chief to resign over his handling of a raid of a journalist’s home earlier this month.
Union president Tony Montoya, in a letter published Saturday, accused Chief Bill Scott of unfairly blaming rank-and-file officers for the potentially illegal sweep of Bryan Carmody’s home on May 10.
The freelance videographer had obtained a leaked police report about the drug-related death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi earlier this year, prompting a police investigation and the aggressive search.
“It’s time for Chief Scott to go. There’s no way around it,” Montoya said while urging the city to investigate the police chief. This urging came one day after Scott issued an apology that admitted the search may have violated California’s shield law, which specifically protects journalists from search warrants. He told the San Francisco Chronicle that his officers “should have done a better job.”
“I am specifically concerned by a lack of due diligence by department investigators in seeking search warrants and appropriately addressing Mr. Carmody’s status as a member of the news media,” Scott said in a statement.
Scott had initially defended the search as legitimate after two San Francisco Superior Court judges reportedly signed warrants authorizing the officers to search Carmody’s home and office. Scott added that an investigation into how the death report was leaked will continue with a separate investigatory body.
Montoya slammed his response as “a pathetic, deceitful and shameful display of self-preservation, finger pointing and political kowtowing. We all deserve better.”
“Chief Scott oversaw and ordered the investigation and raid of a journalist’s home, and then when the optics did not go his way, he threw the men and women who carried out his orders under a double-decker bus,” Montoya said. “His apology to the media was clearly meant for him to save face as opposed to accept responsibility for his own actions. Shameful.”
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has similarly condemned Scott, saying his office had not seen a warrant for the search and he couldn’t “imagine a situation in which a search warrant would be appropriate.”
Video shared by Carmody on Twitter shows officers forcing their way into his home with a crowbar and sledgehammer. He was handcuffed and his equipment, including notebooks, hard drives and phones, were seized, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The police report behind the use of force documented the death of 59-year-old Adachi, an elected official, died on Feb. 22 after spending much of the day with a woman who was not his wife.
The San Francisco medical examiner ruled his death accidental, saying it was caused by “acute mixed drug toxicity with cocaine and ethanol, with hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor.”
Adachi was known as a police watchdog, prompting suspicions by his supporters that the report, detailing the potentially scandalous circumstances of his death, was leaked as a smear attempt by some in the police department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
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