SFDA RELEASES SUMMARY OF INVESTIGATION, LEGAL ANALYSIS AND CHARGING DECISIONS IN THREE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENTS

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 5, 2017

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

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

 

SFDA RELEASES SUMMARY OF INVESTIGATION, LEGAL ANALYSIS AND CHARGING DECISIONS IN THREE OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENTS

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA) released the summary of investigation, legal analysis and charging decisions related to two fatal officer involved shootings.  SFDA also released its summary of investigation, legal analysis and charging decision in a non-injury OIS.  The attached documents reflect SFDA’s commitment to the community that investigations and charging decisions of critical use of force incidents 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 DEATH OF GIOVANY CONTRERAS-SANDOVAL ON SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

 

On the morning of September 25, 2014, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers responded to the scene of a vehicle collision at the intersection of California and Battery Streets. There, they encountered Contreras-Sandoval, who was armed and unwilling to exit the vehicle he had carjacked earlier that morning and subsequently crashed. Civilian witnesses notified the officers that Contreras-Sandoval had a gun and had fired at least one shot prior to the officers’ arrival. SFPD officers spent several minutes asking Contreras-Sandoval to exit the vehicle and to put down his gun. Contreras-Sandoval instead began raising his gun up as if to aim towards at least one group of SFPD officers and in the direction of civilians. Six officers fired their weapons at Contreras-Sandoval, killing him. For the reasons detailed in the attached report, the District Attorney declines to pursue criminal charges against any of the SFPD officers relating to their conduct in this matter because the officers’ actions were legally justified as they reasonably acted in self-defense and in defense of others.

 

FATAL OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING DEATH OF NICHOLAS MCWHERTER ON OCTOBER 14, 2016

 

On the evening of October 14, 2016, SFPD officers initially responded to Lakeshore Plaza after receiving multiple 911 calls regarding McWherter’s erratic and violent behavior. When officers responded and tried to stop McWherter as he ran from the Lakeshore Plaza parking lot, he pulled out a .22 caliber revolver and shot Officer Kevin Downs in the head from a distance of approximately 12 feet. A search for McWherter ensued, and about an hour later, McWherter fired multiple shots at Officer Paul Dominguez near Stern Grove. Officer Dominguez and Officer Nathan Chew returned fire, injuring McWherter. Despite being ordered to drop his weapon, McWherter refused to do so. A tactical team using bulletproof shields eventually arrested McWherter without firing additional shots and recovered McWherter’s gun, which was still in his possession. Ballistics analysis confirmed that McWherter used the same gun at both shooting incidents. McWherter was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died two days later.  As discussed in further detail in the attached report, the available evidence supports the conclusion that Officers Dominguez and Chew acted in self-defense and in defense of others when they fired their weapons at McWherter. Under California law, the officers were justified in using deadly force because they faced an imminent danger to themselves and to others. Accordingly, the District Attorney declines to file criminal charges in this matter.

 

NON-INJURY OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING AT QUESADA AVENUE ON MAY 21, 2017

 

On the evening of May 21, 2017, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers responded to a 911 call regarding an armed robbery of a house located at 2131 Quesada Ave.  Officers set up a perimeter around the house. Three officers, who were stationed in the backyard of a neighboring house at 2127 Quesada Ave., observed three robbery suspects exit 2131 Quesada Ave. through the back door. One suspect, armed with a gun, fired at least five rounds at the officers. One of the officers, Officer Dack Thompson (Star No. 1292), fired a single shot in the suspect’s direction. No one was injured by the gunfire. For the reasons detailed in the attached report, the District Attorney declines to pursue criminal charges against Officer Thompson because his actions were reasonably undertaken in self-defense and in defense of others and are, therefore, legally justified.

 

All three reports are available on the SFDA website at:http://sfdistrictattorney.org/officer-involved-shooting-investigations

 

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