New Misconduct Allegations Launched Against SFPD

The drip drip drip of Jeff Adachi poured down on SFPD Tuesday.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jeff Adachi poses for a shot. Photo: Steve Rhodes on Flickr

    San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released a video Tuesday  that he says shows a second apparent case of theft by a group of plainclothes  police officers performing drug busts.

    The surveillance footage is the latest in a string of videos  released by Adachi since March that he claims show misconduct by officers  during drug busts at residential hotels around the city.

    The two most recent videos involved officers from the Police  Department's Mission Station, and police Chief Greg Suhr announced today that  until an internal investigation is completed, those officers are being  reassigned from plainclothes operations to other duties.

    The previous videos involved officers from the Police Department's  Southern Station, and prompted the indefinite closure of plainclothes  operations there. The FBI is investigating the alleged misconduct in those  cases.

    The new video is of a drug bust on Feb. 25 at the  Julian House Hotel, located at 179 Julian Ave. in the city's Mission  District. The bust led to the arrest of Jesus Reyes, 64, on suspicion of  possession of methamphetamine for sale.

    Three of the officers who arrested Reyes are the same ones  involved in a December drug bust at a Tenderloin residential hotel.

    Adachi released a video from that bust last week that appears to  show the officers taking a duffel bag from the suspect's room. The bag and  various items from the room were never accounted for after the bust.

    In the latest case involving the video released today, Officer  Jacob Fegan wrote in a police report that officers were given information  from an informant about Reyes selling methamphetamine inside the residential  hotel.

    According to the report, the officers contacted Reyes, who was  sitting in his minivan outside the hotel, and he agreed to let them search  his van, as well as his room.

    But Reyes, who was with Adachi at a news conference today at the  public defender's office, denied consenting to the searches -- which netted  1.7 grams of methamphetamine -- and said he was misled into signing a consent  form at the Mission Station.

    Following the search of Reyes' room, the surveillance video  appears to show officers Ricardo Guerrero and Reynaldo Vargas leaving with  bags they did not have when they entered the hotel.

    Reyes said that when he returned to his room days later, he found  that a laptop computer and digital camera were missing, as well as at least  one bag that he said appears to be the same one the officers were seen  leaving with in the video.

    "These officers are entering hotel rooms and removing property ...  and these items are disappearing and not being booked into evidence," Adachi  said.

    He said, "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it  probably is a duck ... that is theft, that is a crime."

    Reyes' case was dismissed by a San Francisco Superior Court judge  on May 4 when Guerrero failed to show up to testify at a hearing.

    Suhr, in a statement issued this afternoon, vowed to investigate  the matter fully but said the officers should be presumed innocent until  proven guilty.

    "If it is determined through the investigation that the officers  acted inappropriately, they will be disciplined," he said.

    The discipline could be as severe as termination depending on the  findings, Suhr said.

    "The hardworking men and women of the San Francisco Police  Department will not tolerate dishonesty within their ranks," he said. "There  is no place in this department for dishonest cops."