SFPD Cops' Criminal Histories Uncovered

New scandal puts more case in jeopardy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM PDT
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SFPD Cops' Criminal Histories Uncovered

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San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon says he's concerned about the possibility of felony cases at threat over a new scandal in the department.

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The criminal histories or misconduct records of more than 80 San Francisco police officers could put hundreds of felony convictions in jeopardy, according to a recent report.

An investigation by The Chronicle found that the San Francisco Police Department withheld and prosecutors didn't disclose the officers' pasts to defense lawyers in which the officers testified.

The law requires that prosecutors alert defense attorneys when any witness, including a police officer, has been arrested or convicted of crimes or has been accused of misconduct.

District Attorney Kamala Harris spokesman Brian Buckelew says disclosing officers' backgrounds to defense lawyers is an imperfect process.

The ripple effect from the scandal could potentially be bigger than the one from the SFPD drug-testing lab scandal. In that case, a former lab tech admitted to taking small amounts of cocaine from samples. Hundreds 600 narcotics cases have been dismissed in the wake of that scandal.

Police Chief George Gascon says he's concerned.

"I want to make sure the Police Department adheres to both its ethical and legal obligations," Gascon said.

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