San Francisco

Court Drops Gun Charges After Surveillance Video Shows San Francisco Police Officers Lied

A man who was arrested in San Francisco for gun charges is now free after a court dropped the charges against him.

New surveillance video shows a different story than how police officers described the Dec. 1 event when Brandon Simpson was restrained by police. On Thursday, the gun charges were dropped after a judge said the video contradicts sworn testimony and statements from the officers who made the arrest.

"Bold face lies told by both officers," San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said.

Adachi said an investigator with his office found the surveillance video debunking the officers' claims.

According to court documents, San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley said Simpson had both hands tucked under a long coat and it appeared he was trying to conceal a weapon.

"If the officer is lying to a federal judge, what does that say about the rest of our system?" Adachi said.

A review of the video shows Simpson does not appear to resist the arrest, nor does he have his hands in his pockets. His lawyers said he was not holding a gun, as the officers claimed, and that Simpson was holding a water bottle.

"This is going to call into question every case that these officers worked on," Adachi said. "Anyone who lies whit those sort of impunity, you can't trust anything they say."

Transcripts from Thursday's court hearing show United States District Judge Charles Breyer offered prosecutors to provide the video and records of the hearing to San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. Breyer also suggested that police wear body cameras at all times.

The District Attorney's Office may choose to file perjury charges against the officers. Attempts to reach the police department for comment were not returned Friday.

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