San Francisco to Dismiss Dozens of Drug Cases For Police Misconduct

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced today that his office will drop at least 57 drug cases due to perjury, illegal searches and other misconduct by police officers.

The investigation has been prompted by a series of surveillance videotapes — released by Jeff Adachi, the city’s public defender, and private defense lawyers — showing officers suspected of falsifying reports, illegally entering residences and, in one instance, making a purposefully flawed arrest for drug possession.

“This is not a game,” Mr. Gascón said. “This is real, this involves people’s lives, not only for those who have been incarcerated, but for victims.”

The feds are now investigating officers from the city's Southern Station. The public defender says thousands of cases may be in jeopardy. [More...]

The current police chief has vowed that every undercover officer in San Francisco will undergo retraining in search and seizure procedure. "“It doesn’t make a difference to me if there’s a hundred or a thousand, they’re all going to get retrained,” he said." He also has promised an audit of "every operation in the city."

This continues a poor record by San Francisco law enforcement. Last year, hundreds of cases were dismissed due to fraud by a lab tech who was stealing cocaine from the seized samples.

Before becoming District Attorney, Gascon was the city's police chief. Good for him for taking decisive action. But this misconduct dates back several years. Why didn't he catch it during his tenure as chief?

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  • Display: Sort:
    Thin Blue Line (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Yes2Truth on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 05:15:31 PM EST

    "Why didn't he catch it during his tenure as chief?"

    He didn't look.  Anyone who has been the victim of
    police misconduct (whether over a traffic ticket or
    entrapment or frame-up etc.) could tell you all about police cover-ups of misconduct by cops.

    Police - n. An armed force for protection and participation.

    armed protection (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:53:19 PM EST
    Those of us who are too weak or too unskilled with weapons to protect ourselves hire armed men and women to protect us.  Without these men and women with guns our society will be filled with armed pirates, not unlike the sea filled with Somali pirates.

    only in sick societies does this fear exist (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dadler on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 07:36:12 PM EST
    that you believe men with guns are all that keep us from chaos and all that keeps your heart beating, then there really is little difference between here and Somalia. They're just further along the chaos and hopelessness trail, and all we have to do is catch up a little.  Hard work is all it will take.

    San Francisco to dismiss dozens of drug cases (none / 0) (#2)
    by bk on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:43:41 PM EST
    Is he going to prosecute the cops?  If it is on video tape what is the delay?  Most suspects are charged within 48 hours in California.

    Diogenes Theorem (none / 0) (#3)
    by diogenes on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 06:49:15 PM EST
    "It was in two of these hotels, notorious for drug use and sales, where officers were videotaped using questionable methods. In one case involving a heroin arrest in January, an officer covers the lens of a surveillance camera while three other officers approach a room and order the resident to open the door before pushing their way in, allegedly without a warrant, according to the public defender's office. A police report stated that the woman had voluntarily let the officers into her home."

    Is anyone disputing that these defendants would have been found guilty if proper police procedure had been followed?  

    Perhaps if they trusted (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 10:17:43 PM EST
    using proper police procedure in the first place, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    not only might they (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 10, 2011 at 11:25:37 PM EST
    not have been found guilty, the cops wouldn't have had the evidence to charge them but for the misconduct. Comments that trash the presumption of innocence and adherence to constitutional rights are not welcome here. You know that by now. Move on to another thread.