The leader of a union representing San Francisco police officers recently blasted the newly-elected, progressive district attorney, claiming the city and county’s top prosecutor has given criminals a “green light” to attack cops.
The accusation came after D.A. Chesa Boudin, who was sworn in earlier this month, decided to withdraw criminal charges against a man who allegedly physically assaulted law enforcement in December, pending further investigation. The suspect, 24-year-old Jamaica Hampton, was shot three times by police officers during the altercation, sustaining critical injuries. He recently had his leg amputated as a result and remains hospitalized.
“Mr. Boudin has made it clear to criminals everywhere that you can violently attack a police officer and he’ll look the other way,” said Tony Montoya, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA).
On Monday, Montoya called on federal prosecutors to intervene, adding that one of the officers was attacked with a glass bottle and “received sutures to the face.” According to NBC Bay Area, Montoya said: “Mr. Boudin has made it very clear that it’s open season on police officers.”
Montoya also announced that the SFPOA had launched a new website, BoudinBlunders.com, where community members can submit information about crimes that the D.A.’s office fails to prosecute.
Boudin called the union’s claims “plainly false” and said the two cops involved in the incident are currently under investigation for their use-of-force, possibly creating a conflict if they were to testify in the criminal case against their alleged attacker. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the D.A.’s office has three years to refile the charges.
“The health of any criminal case depends on internal clarity around the charges being filed, which becomes more complicated when you are dealing with an instance where there is potentially competing criminal liability,” Boudin said.
S.F. Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott reportedly sent letters to every police officer in the department expressing their support.
“The D.A. indicated that this withdrawal is not a dismissal of the case,” wrote Scott. “This unprovoked attack was a violent, criminal act. I want you to know that we remain committed to working with the D.A. to see that justice is done in this case for our officers.”
Montoya criticized Chief Scott for inadequately standing up for rank-and-file officers.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reported:
Video of the encounter showed Hampton dodging two San Francisco police officers he had allegedly attacked with a bottle near the intersection of 23rdand Mission streets.
During the foot chase, Hampton appeared to run toward Officer Sterling Hayes, while still carrying the bottle, moments before the officer opened fire. Hampton attempted to get up when Officer Christopher Flores fired one shot.
Police said Hampton matched the description of an intruder who had broken into a woman’s home that morning…
Hampton was originally booked on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, assault upon a police officer and threats to an officer. The case was charged by interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus but never proceeded to arraignment while Hampton remained hospitalized.
The Chronicle recently reported that Montoya is currently in a runoff election for his next term to lead the SFPOA. The union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat Boudin last November over concerns that he would not support law enforcement. At Boudin’s victory party on election night, S.F. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer led chants of “F*** the POA.” After Boudin announced last week that his office ended cash bail as a condition for pretrial release, Montoya warned that the new D.A. “is in the process of building the largest criminal justice revolving door imaginable,” adding, “San Franciscans will pay a heavy price for it.”
Follow Jeffrey Cawood on Twitter@JeffreyCawood.