SFDA RELEASES SUMMARIES OF INVESTIGATION, LEGAL ANALYSES AND CHARGING DECISIONS IN TWO OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENTS AND TWO IN-CUSTODY DEATHS

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 26, 2017

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:     ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931         |        MAX SZABO (415) 553-9089

 

SFDA RELEASES SUMMARIES OF INVESTIGATION, LEGAL ANALYSES AND CHARGING DECISIONS IN TWO OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENTS AND TWO IN-CUSTODY DEATHS

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA) Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) released the summaries of investigation, legal analyses and charging decisions related to two fatal officer involved shooting (OIS) incidents and two in-custody deaths. 

The attached documents reflect SFDA’s commitment to the community that investigations and charging decisions are conducted with transparency.  SFDA’s reviews of use of force incidents are conducted by the office’s Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB).  They focus exclusively on determining whether criminal charges relating to the officers’ conduct are warranted.  IIB’s reviews do not examine issues such as officers’ compliance with internal SFPD policies and procedures, their training or tactics, or any issues related to civil liability.  These reports should not be interpreted as expressing any opinions on such non-criminal matters.

FATAL OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING OF NICHOLAS FLUSCHE ON MAY 3, 2017

The SFDA’s Independent Investigations Bureau has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting that led to the death of Nicholas Flusche.  In brief, on May 3, 2017, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Officers Jordan Cagonot (Star No. 2023) and Kenneth Cha (Star No. 1206) responded to a Subway restaurant where Flusche was attacking an employee, including stabbing him with a knife multiple times. The officers immediately ordered Flusche to “get on the ground” several times.  Flusche did not comply.  Instead, Flusche, wielding a knife, chased the bloody and visibly wounded employee who had managed to briefly escape Flusche.  As Flusche neared the employee, Officer Cha fired one shot. Flusche died on scene from his gunshot wound. As detailed in the attached report, the available evidence, including video surveillance and witness statements, supports the conclusion that Officer Cha’s actions were taken in defense of another individual. The District Attorney, therefore, declines to pursue criminal charges in this matter.

IN-CUSTODY DEATH OF ROBERT BOWER’S IN-CUSTODY DEATH ON JUNE 19, 2016

The SFDA’s Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) has completed its review of Robert Bower's June 19, 2016 death while he was in the custody of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).  San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner Ellen Moffatt conducted an autopsy and concluded that Mr. Bower died of acute methamphetamine overdose.  After a thorough review, and with no evidence or other basis for alleging any use of force or other criminal conduct by officers in this incident, we have concluded that there is no evidence of criminal misconduct by any of the officers involved in this incident, including Officers Ian Goold (Star No. 1134), Franco Ragusa (Star No. 1482), Kathleen Cavanaugh (Star No. 575), and Andrew Sargenti (Star No. 2099).  Accordingly, we decline to file any criminal charges in this matter.

IN-CUSTODY DEATH OF MARVIN DAY ON JULY 2, 2015

The SFDA’s Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) has completed its review of Marvin Day's death on July 2, 2015, after he had been transferred to medical personnel from  the custody of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD).  After a thorough review of the available evidence, we have concluded there is no evidence of criminal misconduct by any officer, including Officers Eric Kuk (Star No. 2169) and James Puccinelli (Star No. 1894).  According to Chief Medical Examiner Michael Hunter, M.D., Day's cause of death was "acute methamphetamine toxicity" with the contributing factor of "atherosclerotic heart disease with cardiomegaly."  Accordingly, the District Attorney declines to file criminal charges against any of the officers involved in the incident.

FATAL OFFCER-INVOLVED SHOOTING OF ALICE BROWN ON MARCH 17, 2015

The SFDA’s Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) has completed its review of the officer-involved shooting that led to the death of Alice Brown.  In brief, on March 17, 2015, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Officers Michael Tursi (Star No. 997), Donn Peterson (Star No. 2289), and Sgt. Tom Maguire (Star No. 1158) approached a female driver, later identified as Alice Brown, because they had reason to believe she was driving a stolen vehicle.  Brown fled in her car, causing the officers to pursue her on foot.  During the short chase, Brown rammed into occupied cars and parked cars, drove the wrong way on a one-way street, drove on a sidewalk without regard to nearby pedestrians, smashed into a building, caused officers to jump out of her way several times to avoid being hit, and nearly hit a motorcyclist.  Officer Tursi and Sgt. Maguire ended the car chase by shooting Brown, who died on scene from her gunshot wounds.  For the reasons detailed in the attached report, the District Attorney declines to pursue criminal charges against any of the SFPD officers involved relating to their conduct in this matter because we cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that their actions were not reasonably taken in defense of themselves and others.  

Both reports and our letters regarding the in-custody deaths are available on the SFDA website at: http://sfdistrictattorney.org/officer-involved-shooting-investigations