SFPD chief refuses to work with DA Boudin, accuses him of 'concealing' evidence to hurt police
SFPD Chief William Scott said 'very serious concerns' were brought to his attention
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said his department will no longer work with District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office on police-involved shooting and use-of-force cases.
Scott sent a letter to Boudin Wednesday saying that the DA’s office broke their mutual agreement following a court testimony last week by an investigator with the DA’s office who described feeling pressured to sign an affidavit against an officer that omitted evidence.
"Very serious concerns have been brought to my attention regarding recent testimony in the Superior Court of the County of San Francisco from a member of the D.A.’s Office who was assigned as an investigator to your Independent Investigations Bureau at the time of the incident in question," Scott wrote to Boudin on Wednesday.
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"Other evidence that was brought forward to the court corroborated the D.A. Investigator’s testimony as it related to violations of the (Memo Of Understanding) agreement. It appears that the D.A.’s Office has an ongoing practice of investigations against SFPD officers that includes withholding and concealing information and evidence the SFPD is entitled to have to further ancillary criminal investigations in accordance with the MOU," he continued.
The mutual agreement was first reached in 2019 and gave the DA’s office the lead in criminal investigations of police. The agreement had been renewed last year for another two years.
Scott said he contacted California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office for guidance on the termination of the agreement.
The severed agreement stems from the case of Officer Terrance Stangel, who is accused of beating a man with a baton and is facing criminal battery and assault charges. The incident occurred as officers responded to a report of domestic violence.
Stangel’s attorney argued last week that the case should be dismissed due to "misconduct" from the DA’s office after DA investigator with the Independent Investigations Bureau Magen Hayashi testified she felt pressured to sign an affidavit against Stangel or lose her job.
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"It was a general understanding in my experience in this office, if you don’t sign these things you’ll be fired," she told the judge, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hayashi said she was instructed to not share information with the police and was told to remove parts in the affidavit stating that the man was abusing his girlfriend in the domestic violence case.
Stangel’s attorney said the altercation between the officer and the suspect occurred after the suspect beat his girlfriend.
A representative for Boudin’s office said the decision to terminate the agreement was "disappointing but no coincidence SFPD chose to withdraw from this agreement during the first-ever trial against an on-duty San Francisco police officer for an unlawful beating."
Scott has previously slammed Boudin's office after charges were not pursued against a suspect who allegedly lunged toward officers with a knife, injuring two.
Scott has also spoken out against lenient prosecutors who have not pursued charges against criminals, noting there should be "balance" amid police reforms.
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"When crimes are committed against police officers, whether it’s a minor assault — in my opinion, there’s no such thing as a minor assault against a police officer," Scott said last week to CNN. "When an officer’s out there doing the job that the public is asking them to do and they’re doing it lawfully and doing it within the policies, and they’re attacked, that’s not a minor thing.
"And whether that attack results in no injury or a minor injury or death, like we saw with our fallen officers in New York, nothing about attacking a police officer is minor. And when the evidence is there, it is my professional and personal opinion that there should be consequences when police officers are attacked. And I think when there are policies that broadly dismiss those cases, that’s a real problem. It’s a problem for our society, and it’s a problem for policing."