State Watch

San Francisco police chief halts agreement with DA on police shootings

Getty Images, Douglas Sacha

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said on Wednesday that police would terminate a cooperation agreement with the district attorney’s office on investigating police shootings and other incidents.

In a Wednesday letter to District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Scott referenced testimony from an investigator from Boudin’s office which alleged the DA’s office violated the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between prosecutors and police regarding the investigation of officer-involved shootings.

“It appears that the DA’s Office has an ongoing practice of investigations against SFPD officers that includes withholding and concealing information and evidence the SFPD is entitled to have to further ancillary criminal investigations in accordance with the MOU,” Scott said in the letter.  

The court testimony Scott referenced came from an investigator who last week said she felt prosecutors pressured her to remove certain evidence from an affidavit against San Francisco Officer Terrance Stangel, a police officer charged with battery and assault, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Teresa Caffese said the evidence in question — which prosecutors said indicated the man Stangel was accused of striking with a baton was allegedly beating his girlfriend before the altercation with the officer — was redundant and irrelevant to the case, the Chronicle added.

The judge did not issue a ruling on a motion to dismiss the officer’s case, per the newspaper, but said that “the DA’s office is not on trial.”

“Confidence has been eroded because of the concerns and MOU violations referenced in this correspondence,” Scott’s letter said of the development.

“I will honor the MOU requirement of an immediate meeting to discuss the disagreement, no later than five business days of delivery of this notice,” Scott added.

“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,” Rachel Marshall, the district attorney’s office’s communications director, said in a statement to The Hill. “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.” 

“San Franciscans deserve to be safe—including from unwarranted police violence,” Marshall added.

Scott said in his letter that the agreement was to remain in place for two years or until the police chief or district attorney provided 15 days’ written notice of its termination to the other party.

Tags California San Francisco San Francisco District Attorney's Office San Francisco Police Department SFPD

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