Surveillance Videos Prompt Investigations of Police Misconduct

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News

Published on March 03, 2011 with 4 Comments

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi showed two surveillance videos yesterday that demonstrates, he said, SFPD officers committed perjury when they falsified police reports in connection with two warrantless narcotics arrests at the Henry Hotel. Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

March 3, 2011

Surveillance videos released by the San Francisco Public Defender’s office has triggered multiple investigations into allegations of police misconduct and perjury.

The videos contradict police report testimony signed under penalty of perjury and reveal Police Department narcotics officers falsified reports to justify searching two residences without warrants or consent as required by law, officials with the Public Defender’s office announced yesterday.

“A free society cannot abide a culture of lawlessness by police,” Public Defender Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez said in a statement. “Those officers who lie under oath to magistrates should be prosecuted for their misconduct. They are no better than the criminals they purport to be in pursuit of.”

The video footage stems from two separate drug arrests at the single residency Henry Hotel on December 23, 2010 and January 5, 2011. After reviewing the video on Monday from the January 5th arrest, Superior Court Judge Anne Bouliane dismissed the case prompting the district attorney’s office to dismiss the December 23 case before going to trial.

In the January 5th footage, an officer identified as Office Yick, who wrote the police report, appears to intentionally block a video surveillance camera from capturing evidence of the arrest.

A man identified by the public defender’s office as SFPD Officer Yick approaches a surveillance camera at the Henry Hotel on January 5.

A man identified by the public defender’s office as SFPD Officer Yick  raises his hand to block a surveillance camera from recording an arrest at the Henry Hotel on January 5.

In the December 23rd footage, Officer Razzaq writes the narcotics officers obtained written consent before they searched the residence when, according to Deputy Public Defender Anne Irwin, written consent to search had not been obtained until eighteen minutes later when two uniformed officers arrived on scene to provide the narcotics officers with the consent to search form.

In both arrests, officers acted on information provided by an informant.

“The violations are really occurring on two levels,” said Public Defender Managing Attorney Bob Dunlap. “There’s the constitutional violation, which is blatant. It’s a warrantless, unexcused, unannounced entry into a person’s home, and then there’s the perjury that ensues, in both cases as to the police reports.”

Public Defender Managing Attorney Bob Dunlap.

The allegations of police misconduct and perjury has triggered a criminal investigation by the district attorney and an internal investigation by the police department. Public Defender Jeff Adachi is also calling for an independent investigation because, he said, District Attorney George Gascón was the Chief of Police at the time of the arrests.

“Under these unique circumstances, the only way we’re going to have true accountability is to bring in an independent investigator or an independent prosecutor to look at what happened here,” Adachi said.

Addressing the issue of a potential conflict of interest, Gascón maintained yesterday the district attorney’s office is an independent investigative body. “The District Attorney’s office is an independent unit. We are not part of the police department,” he said. “We are taking this very seriously… but we also do not want to jump to any conclusions until we get to the bottom of this investigation.”

District Attorney and former Police Chief, George Gascón.

A total of 80 grams of heroin and one rock of crack cocaine were seized during the arrests.  If convicted, the defendants faced twelve to sixteen years in prison.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:


Comments for Surveillance Videos Prompt Investigations of Police Misconduct are now closed.

  1. How can I find an attorney that will check into a brand new case that possibly is worse than your prior surviellance scandal? I was actually used as an experiment and have been terrified and driven into fear that my life is put on hold. Can you please help me get justice.. I just ask for a chance to be cleared and listened to.. My name is Ulrike Homburg-McKye.

  2. Nothing is going to change until the POA rot is pulled out of the SFPD through the root and the surrounding tissues are cauterized, and that’s going to be too heavy a lift for our “elected city family” which on this issue are lightweights.

    Local hire was a good first step. Now we need to mandate that ALL first responders live within 30 min of the City in the case of failure of bridge and tube and provide affordable housing subsidies to make that happen.


  3. Many, many thanks to the Public Defender’s office for releasing these videos to the public, forcing acknowledgment of a serious issue.

    Godown was wrong to ask the PD not reveal police abuses to the public, especially egregious since yesterday was the anniversary of the Rodney King beating also caught on video.

  4. Lights, camera, Action!!

    Folks, 75% of our police force do not live in San Francisco. One of George Gascon’s last acts as chief before moving on to become DA was to approve closing SF recruiting for new officers. Now they simply hire the most violent rejects from other departments. We are (especially in the Tenderloin) occupied by mercenary forces who are lawless, violent and without ties to the community.

    So, given those facts does it surprise you that SFPD acts in such a manner? It shouldn’t.

    The camera is your only defense.

    It’s hard for the undercover cops who were captured on video shooting an unarmed wheelchair bound crazy man in the balls … hard for them to deny that’s what they did but the footage says that’s exactly what they did.

    It was no problem for the outta town thug recruit (SFPD used him as a Training Officer!) who broke that teacher’s arm at a demonstration to say she attacked him. He was lying and the camera said so and he got fired.

    It’s gonna be hard for the cops in this video to to deny that they weren’t acting in a lawless manner.

    But, deny it they will. Just as the cops in the other instances denied what they did. And, you know what the advice to the entire SFPD was from Greg Suhr (he’s leading candidate for chief and the guy who mocked Mesha Stelley whose son they’d murdered with: “How’s your cancer, Mesha?” – then he laughed at her in her illness and grief) … Here’s Suhr’s advice to cops:

    “Lie til you die.”

    Uh huh. He said that.

    I’m for banning all SFPD from the Tenderloin and replacing them with a couple of hundred Patrol Specials.

    Go Giants!