Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations

As the District Attorney is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the City and County of San Francisco, it is our responsibility to investigate all crimes in the city and county to determine whether or not we can ethically file criminal charges.

 

After much effort, our office has received funding to create an Independent Investigations Bureau (“IIB”) within the District Attorney’s Office to, in significant part, investigate and review all law enforcement officer-involved shootings.

 

The Bureau will maintain a level of autonomy within our office, and from other law enforcement agencies, as the lead actor to independently and fairly investigate these cases.

 

Officer-involved shootings are not just another incident. They are confrontations between the police and citizens, where physical force or deadly physical force is used, and are among the most important events we investigate. They fundamentally challenge the very trust needed for law enforcement to engage with our communities and effectively serve and protect us all. As our office is committed to seeking justice for all, the creation of the IIB will allow us to strengthen and expand our current investigative capacity to independently and fairly investigate these very important cases.

 

Currently, when a peace officer discharges a weapon in San Francisco (regardless of resulting injury or death), a team of District Attorney Investigators and an Assistant District Attorney respond to the scene to investigate the officer-involved shooting. Our investigation is parallel to that of the San Francisco Police Department.

 

Our office begins its investigation immediately after receiving a report of an officer-involved shooting. We conduct interviews, request forensic examination of evidence when it has not been requested by the agency involved, retain expert opinions and reviews, examine evidence collected by the agency involved, and, depending on the specific facts of the case, gather other forms of necessary evidence.

 

Our investigation is as thorough and expedient as possible. Because of our ethical obligations to only file charges when we have the evidence necessary to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, we must make sure to conduct a thorough investigation and review of the evidence. As each case is unique, many variables may affect our response timeframe, including new evidence that may re-direct the investigation, new witnesses coming forward, and/or the length of time it takes for experts to render an opinion and prepare a report to name but a few.

 

What is the purpose of the District Attorney’s investigation?

 

The purpose of our investigation is to evaluate the evidence to determine whether an officer has violated the legal standard of objective reasonableness by discharging his weapon.

 

California Penal Code section 835a allows an officer to use reasonable force to make an arrest, to prevent escape, or to overcome resistance by a person for whom he has reasonable cause to believe has committed a public offense. Under California law, peace officers may use deadly force to protect themselves from the threat of death or great bodily injury. In protecting himself, or another, a person, including an officer, may use all force which he believes reasonably necessary and which would appear to a reasonable person, in the same or similar circumstances, to be necessary to prevent injury which appears to be imminent. CALCRIM 3470.

 

Our investigation is to determine whether or not, based on the evidence, an officer’s use of his weapon is objectively reasonable given the circumstances at the time of the incident. Facts and information unavailable to the officer at the time of the shooting cannot be considered in evaluating an officer’s objective reasonableness.

 

If criminal charges are not filed, a decision letter describing the shooting is sent to the Chief Executive Officer of the involved agency by the District Attorney. The letter summarizes the District Attorney’s legal review of the shooting and is independent of the administrative investigation and review.

 

Below, please find decision letters concerning all closed officer-involved shootings since 2010.

 

What is the current status of the IIB?

 

The creation of the IIB will make IIB the lead agency in investigating officer involved shootings. The San Francisco Police Department, however, currently holds this designation. To facilitate the transition, our office is negotiating a new MOU with the SFPD.

 

For the current SFPD General Order on Officer Involved Shootings, please visit:

 

http://sanfranciscopolice.org/sites/default/files/FileCenter/Documents/14739-DGO8.11.pdf

 

Decision Letters:

 

April 12, 2017 - Amilcar Perez-Lopez; 3D Recreation; Press Relase

February 5, 2016 - Peter Russell

February 4, 2016 - Brandon Carrillo

January 29, 2016 -  Ramone Wellington

May 1, 2014 - Dennis Hughes

March 21, 2014 - Alejandro Nieto

December 30, 2013 - Jacques Samuel

July 20, 2013 - Carlos Miranda

April 17, 2013 - Dale Stuart Wilkerson

April 7, 2013 - Fredi Ulisis Martinez

March 5, 2013 - Eddie Tilman

March 2, 2013 - Aaron Westley Sawyer

February 14, 2013 - Alexander Gibbons

September 20, 2012 - Oliver Jose Barcenas

August 27, 2012 - Larry Massey

August 4, 2012 - Brian "Melvin" Cooper

July 18, 2012 - Pralith Pralourng

July 5, 2012 - Antonio Roberson

June 29, 2012 - Roselyndo Sicat

May 13, 2012 - Derryck King

December 16, 2011 - Larry Simonton

December 14, 2011 - Steven Michael Young

October 3, 2011 - Peter Yin Woo

September 17, 2011 - Jesus Octavio Paretes Rodriguez

July 16, 2011 - Kenneth Harding Jr.

July 3, 2011 - Hill

June 7, 2011 - Joshua Smith

January 22, 2011 - Unidentified

August 28, 2010 - Marcus Gregory Tyson

July 3, 2010 - Rudy Mejia