Motion for Recusal Denied in Randal Dunklin Case

April 1, 2011

CONTACT: Erica Terry Derryck, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1167
ADA Seth Steward, DA Gascón’s Office, (415) 553-1014

Judge Finds No Basis for Conflict of Interest Claim by Defense, Prosecution Ordered to Proceed

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced today the denial of a defense motion for the recusal of the District Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of Randal Dunklin (CTN 11000381).

On Friday, April 1, 2011 in San Francisco Superior Court Department 20, the Honorable Bruce Chan found that the District Attorney’s Office does not have a conflict of interest based on the fact that at the time of the incident District Attorney George Gascón was the San Francisco Chief of Police. Judge Chan denied the defense counsel’s motion on the basis that there was not evidence to support recusal of the District Attorney’s Office and ordered the pending matter against fifty-five-year-old Randal Dunklin to proceed to preliminary hearing.

Dunklin is charged with two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon against a peace officer (PC section 25(c)), one felony count of interfering with a peace officer in the line of duty (PC section 69) and one misdemeanor count of vandalism (PC 594 (b)(1)).

According to court documents, on January 4, 2011, San Francisco Police officers responded to calls that Dunklin was in a wheelchair and causing a disturbance on the 1300 block of Howard Street in San Francisco. The reporting party described Dunklin as irate, verbally abusive, and hostile towards passersby and was seen throw concrete at an individual. According to the reporting party, Dunklin slashed the tire of a City-owned vehicle with a knife, which he was also brandishing in the air.

Court documents further show that Dunklin did not respond to repeated officer commands to drop his weapon. One of the officers used pepper spray in order to get Dunklin to comply which was ineffective. The same officer then approached Dunklin and was stabbed in the upper arm by Dunklin. Dunklin did not respond to subsequent attempts by officers to use non-lethal force to disarm him. Instead, he is alleged to have continued waving the knife while yelling obscenities and being uncooperative. When Dunklin then allegedly lunged forward, throwing the knife at officers, he was shot by police. Both the shot defendant and stabbed officer were taken to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment.

Dunklin was arraigned in San Francisco Superior Court on January 19, 2011 after being released from the hospital. Bail was set at $340,000. Dunklin remains in custody awaiting the start of a preliminary hearing which is scheduled for May 3, 2011 before Judge Chan in Department 20 of San Francisco Superior Court. Sanaz Nikaen is the prosecutor.