San Francisco police union calls for chief to resign – Union says chief ordered raid on local journalist’s home and office

In this May 21, 2019, file photo, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott speaks during a news conference in San Francisco. The union representing San Francisco police officers is calling for its chief to resign over his handling of the police raid of a freelance journalist's home and office. Chief Scott acknowledged Friday, May 24, that the searches were probably illegal and apologized for the way his department handled the investigation into who leaked a confidential police report to Bryan Carmody. The police union fired back on Saturday, May 25, saying Scott ordered the investigation, knew Carmody was a journalist and deceived the sergeant who wrote the search warrant. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

By DAISY NGUYEN, Associated Press  SAN FRANCISCO (AP) 05/25 — The union representing San Francisco police officers demanded Saturday that its chief resign, accusing him of blaming officers for raids that he ordered to determine who leaked a police report to a freelance journalist.

Chief William Scott acknowledged Friday that the searches were probably illegal and apologized for the way his department handled the investigation, telling the San Francisco Chronicle , “I’m sorry that this happened.”

Bryan Carmody was handcuffed for hours on May 10 while police, armed with a sledgehammer, searched his home and office to uncover the source of a leaked report on the unexpected death of the city’s former public defender. They subsequently removed dozens of Carmody’s cameras, cellphones, computers and other equipment.

Media organizations across the country criticized the raids as a violation of California’s shield law, which specifically protects journalists from search warrants.

Because the warrants are under seal, it’s not known what information police provided to support the searches or to what extent they disclosed that Carmody is a journalist.

Scott initially defended the raid, telling the city Police Commission his department went through the appropriate legal process.

In this May 10, 2019, image taken from video provided by Bryan Carmody, San Francisco police armed with sledgehammers execute a search warrant at journalist Carmody’s home in San Francisco. San Francisco’s police chief is apologizing for raiding the freelance journalist’s home and office to find out who leaked a police report into the unexpected death of the city’s former public defender. Chief William Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, May 24, 2019, the searches were probably illegal and said, “I’m sorry that this happened.” (Bryan Carmody/@bryanccarmody via AP, File)

 

However, on Friday he said he reviewed all material related to the searches and acknowledged the warrants didn’t adequately identify Carmody as a journalist. He blamed department investigators for their “lack of due diligence.”

“This has raised important questions about our handling of this case and whether the California shield law was violated,” Scott said.

The police union fired back on Saturday, saying in a scathing statement that Scott was actively involved in directing the investigation. Because the chief’s office issues press credentials, the union alleged that Scott knew Carmody was a journalist and did not disclose that fact to the sergeant who wrote the search warrant.

“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,” said Tony Montoya, president of the 2,200-member San Francisco Police Officers Association.

Mayor London Breed requested an independent probe into the way police executed the search warrant, which could lead to charges, and the ongoing investigation into who leaked the report, which could lead to discipline for officers.

Montoya called for a separate investigation into Scott, adding the chief should be placed on administrative leave during the probe.

Scott didn’t respond to the specific allegations made by the union, but a department statement issued Saturday said an additional probe by the Department of Police Accountability will examine how the case was handled on all levels, including the command staff and the chief.

“Chief Scott has made it abundantly clear that transparency and accountability are paramount in this criminal investigation,” the statement said.

Reporters and other First Amendment organizations want a judge to revoke search warrants that authorized the raid and to unseal the materials submitted in support of them.

https://www.apnews.com/d74831e948564c7c83983737eb83592d

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Investigations, Media, Misconduct/Abuse of Authority, Police, Police Leadership, Police Organizations, Policies & Practices, Search Warrants

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