News and Commentary

San Francisco Police Chief Apologizes For Horrifying Raid On Journalist’s Home

San Francisco’s chief of police, William Scott, has apologized for a horrifying raid on a journalists’ home, calling the incident a “mistake,” according to NPR.

Scott, however, did not take full responsibility for the raid on the home of Bryan Carmody, a freelance journalist who received a series of documents pertaining to the death of San Francisco’s former public defender, Jeff Adachi, in an unauthorized leak from within the police department.

Scott instead told the San Francisco Chronicle that the documents officers compiled to obtain the warrant did not adequately describe Carmody as a journalist, NPR says, even though a fairly simple internet search would have turned up the fact that Carmody operated as a freelance investigative reporter.

“Scott also said the officers who executed the warrants violated department policy by not first consulting with the district attorney’s office,” the outlet added.

Bryan Carmody, according to CNN, obtained a series of documents about Adachi’s death, including a “confidential” police report and, when confronted back in April, refused to say where he got the files — his prerogative under the First Amendment and California’s shield laws which protect journalists from being held in contempt or criminally charged for refusing to reveal their sources. San Francisco cops raided Carmody’s home just a few weeks later, seizing “his computers, cameras, phones and notebooks” in a six hour search.

Carmody remained handcuffed throughout the ordeal.

The raid sent shock-waves across the journalistic community and was only made worse when Scott told a press conference that Carmody was also an “active participant in the commission of the criminal acts beyond his role with the news media,” and that he would remain under investigation until the police department determined how he obtained his information.

Scott changed his tune on Friday and called for an “independent, impartial investigation by a separate investigatory body” to look into how the “lack of due diligence by department investigators in seeking search warrants and appropriately addressing Mr. Carmody’s status as a member of the news media” may have caused the situation to spiral out of control.

“This has raised important questions about our handling of this case and whether the California shield law was violated,” Scott added in his statement.

“We must do a better job,” Scott said, according to CNN. “Journalists and everyone in our city deserve a police department that will maintain the constitutional rights of all.”

The vague apology was not enough for the San Francisco Fraternal Order of Police who called for Scott’s resignation in a separate statement issued Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times, claiming that the chief is looking to throw his officers “under a double-decker bus” for an operation he oversaw and approved.

“SFPD Chief William Scott showed everyone in the SFPD, and all San Franciscans, what his character consists of and it was a pathetic, deceitful and shameful display of self-preservation, finger pointing, and political kowtowing. We all deserve better,” the FOP’s statement said.