Judge Drops Most Charges Against Suspect Shot by SF Officers in January - NBC Bay Area
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Judge Drops Most Charges Against Suspect Shot by SF Officers in January

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    A judge dismissed all but two charges on Tuesday against a man shot by San Francisco police during a confrontation in January, and Public Defender Jeff Adachi is now calling for prosecutors to drop the remaining charges as his case prepares to go to trial. Thom Jensen reports. (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    A judge dismissed all but two charges on Tuesday against a man shot by San Francisco police during a confrontation in January, and Public Defender Jeff Adachi is now calling for prosecutors to drop the remaining charges as his case prepares to go to trial.

    Judge Jeffrey Ross dismissed eight of 10 charges filed against Sean Moore in the Jan. 6 shooting, leaving him scheduled to go to trial Friday on just one count of misdemeanor violating a stay away order and felony battery causing serious injury.

    The decision is the second time a judge has reduced the case filed by prosecutors against Moore, a 43-year-old mentally ill man who was shot around 4 a.m. at his home in the 500 block of Capitol Avenue after Officers Kenneth Cha and Colin Patino responded to a noise complaint made by a neighbor.

    Moore's mother said the shooting never should have happened.

    "He could have been dead," Cleo Moore said. "He's got a mental condition, but the officers continued to egg him on."

    Sean Moore, who repeatedly told the officers to leave his property, was unarmed but is accused of kicking and hitting officers during the confrontation that led to his shooting. The remaining battery charge relates to an allegation that he punched Patino.

    The officers used batons and pepper spray on him before Cha opened fire.

    In March, Judge Ethan Schulman also dismissed two counts of criminal threats against Moore following a three-day preliminary hearing.

    Ross's decision came after Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman argued in court that officers had no legal grounds to remain on Moore's property after he told them to leave, and that when they approached him they were essentially trespassing.

    "They're trying to punish a victim of a crime, a crime committed by the officers, for defending himself in his own home," Pearlman said Wednesday.

    Adachi was critical of the investigation by police and the District Attorney's Office that led to charges being filed against Moore. He said that the officers, who were inexperienced and lacked training in dealing with mentally ill subjects, acted illegally but were allowed to collude and file essentially identical statements about the incident after conferring with the same attorney and reviewing body-camera footage.

    "If this is what reform looks like in the SFPD, we're in big trouble," Adachi said.

    Moore has been through multiple surgeries since the shooting. He remains in custody, although Pearlman said he planned to argue for his release at a hearing on Friday.

    Cleo Moore said she felt the officers had egged on her son and wanted to know if the police department would improve officer training to avoid shootings involving the mentally ill.

    "They need to be trained," she said. "Perhaps out of some of this, for all the young men that have been shot and killed in this city, something good will come of this."

    The DA's office released a statement, saying it is reviewing the case: "The judge who heard all the evidence at the preliminary hearing found there was sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on almost every charge. Yesterday, another judge that reviewed the transcripts from that hearing came to a very different conclusion. As such, we are weighing our options."

    NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report.

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