Feds Take Over SF Police Misconduct Case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

    San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said Friday that  he is turning over the investigation into allegations of police misconduct to  federal authorities.

    The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office will take over the  investigation, which has prompted the dismissal of a total of 57 drug and  robbery cases after Public Defender Jeff Adachi released surveillance video  last week that he said shows corruption among some officers.

    The four videos released since last week appear to contradict what  some officers wrote in their police reports and said in court testimony about  drug busts in December and January at residential hotels in the city's South  of Market and Mission neighborhoods.

    Eight officers have been named in the investigation into the  alleged misconduct. All are plainclothes officers from the Police  Department's Southern Station.

    Adachi had called on Gascon, who was police chief at the time of  the incidents, to hand over the investigation to another agency because of a  potential conflict of interest.

    Gascon had previously said he saw no reason to recuse himself from  the case, but said in a statement today that "new information has come to  light that indicates it is better to turn over this investigation to the  FBI."

    "When we first became aware of the allegations against San Francisco police officers involved in arrests at the Henry Hotel, I directed my office to open an investigation into the officers and their alleged conduct," he said in a statement.
       
    The statement did not specify what the new information was, and  spokespeople for the district attorney's office were not immediately  available for comment.

    Adachi said in a phone interview that he believes "it's the  right decision" to have federal authorities investigate the case, but said he  "would like to know what the new information was."

    He said, "I look forward to their investigation, and I'm hoping  that they are transparent, particularly since there are many more cases which  may have been affected by the misconduct."

    In three of the videos Adachi's office released last week,  officers apparently entered residences without a warrant or consent,  contradicting what was written in their police reports.

    A fourth video released Monday involved a man who was arrested  after officers claimed they recognized him by the white and tan jacket he was  wearing as he entered the Henry Hotel. The officer said they later found the  jacket with crack cocaine and marijuana inside.

    However, surveillance video showed that the man was wearing a  black jacket when he entered the hotel just before his arrest, and the case  was dismissed on Dec. 22.

    The FBI had announced last week that they were conducting their  own investigation into the misconduct case, and Gascon's statement today said  the district attorney's office will "cooperate fully with the FBI, and  provide whatever assistance they need from us."

    The police department is conducting its own internal investigation  into the matter, which has prompted the indefinite suspension of plainclothes  operations at the Southern Station.
       
    The officers named in the report are Richard Yick, Arshad Razzak,  Arthur Madrid, Robert Forneris, Raul Elias, Raymond Kane, Samuel Christ and  Gregory Buhagiar.