Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced the declination to file charges against officers in three incidents the office investigated, including two incidents resulting in fatalities. The decisions come after thorough investigations into each incident by the District Attorney’s Office’s Independent Investigation Bureau (“IIB”). Under District Attorney Boudin’s leadership, the District Attorney’s Office has been working diligently to review cases involving officer use-of-force and deaths of persons in-custody for possible charging. In these three instances, the evidence did not support prosecution of any officers involved. The District Attorney’s Office announces this decision in an effort to provide this information to community members, officers involved, and law enforcement agencies as quickly as possible. The IIB Unit only makes determinations as to whether officer conduct violated criminal law; a finding of no criminality does not mean that officers modeled best practices.
“My office has demonstrated that we carefully examine cases involving officer use-of-force and deaths of persons in police custody and will not only file charges when officers break the law but will also work to quickly exonerate officers who behaved lawfully,” said District Attorney Boudin. “I commend my IIB team for thoroughly evaluating these recent cases and for their continued commitment to ensuring that police who break the law are held accountable and that police who have used lawful force under challenging and stressful circumstances are cleared. Although we did not find violations of criminal law in these cases, we urge the San Francisco Police Department and the Department of Police Accountability to carefully review these cases to promote better, safer practices by police officers to protect the public.”
Officer-Involved Shooting of Jesus Delgado-Duarte
On the night of March 6, 2018, two men hailed three San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers inside a patrol car to report an armed robbery that had just occurred near Capp and 21st Street. The two men pointed to the fleeing suspect, later identified as Jesus Delgado-Duarte, who was running away. The police pursued Mr. Delgado-Duarte and saw him jump inside the trunk of a Honda Civic stopped in the street. The police officers ordered the driver to exit the Honda and detained him.
Mr. Delgado-Duarte, who was inside the partially closed trunk, refused repeated commands in both English and Spanish to show his hands and exit the trunk. After several minutes of failed negotiations to gain his compliance, officers fired one bean bag round at him. Moments later, Mr. Delgad0-Duarte screamed an expletive, produced a handgun in his left hand that had been hidden out of sight, and fired at the line of police behind the Honda. Officers Stephen Cassinelli (#1104), Joshua Tupper (#4115), Loren Chiu (#1306), Juan Daniel Gustillo (#1469), Corbin Carroll (#987), Ari Smith-Russack (#4132), Colby Smets (#253), Nicholas Nagai (#2017), Sean O’Rourke (#2214), and John Ishida (#2035) returned fire, striking Mr. Delgado-Duarte numerous times. Officers then secured Mr. Delgado-Duarte, rendered medical aid, and called for paramedics, who responded and later pronounced him deceased at the scene.
Witness statements, physical and video evidence from SFPD issued Body Worn Cameras and civilian recordings all supported the conclusion that the officers in this case acted in lawful self-defense when shooting Mr. Delgado-Duarte.
“Any time someone is killed, especially by law enforcement, it is a tremendous tragedy,” said Lateef Gray, the head of the District Attorney’s IIB Unit. “We know that this finding may cause Mr. Delgado-Duarte’s family pain, but we do hope they understand the scrutiny with which we evaluated this case and that our decision also brings them closure for their painful loss. Although we did not find a violation of the law, the number of shots fired by police calls out for immediate changes to be implemented to ensure that innocent bystanders are not hurt by officer-involved shootings.”
Death of Christopher Kliment While In Custody
The IIB investigates not only officer use-of-force cases, but also any incidents in which someone dies while in police custody. One such case involved the January 7, 2019 in-custody death of Christopher Kliment.
Around 7:00pm on January 5, 2019, the CPMC Mission Bernal Emergency Department (ER) discharged Mr. Kliment after treating him. Mr. Kliment refused to leave, and yelled at ER staff while grabbing medical equipment. SFPD Officers Brett Grennell (#4277) and Louis Hargreaves (#2321), who were in the ER for an unrelated matter, approached Mr. Kliment and asked him to leave. Mr. Kliment informed them that he would not leave and then lunged at Officer Grennell. Officers wrestled Mr. Kliment to the ground and handcuffed him, but he continued to struggle and bang his head against the floor and the side of a table. Ultimately, numerous other officers responded to help restrain Mr. Kliment.
As a result of Mr. Kliment’s behavior and apparent altered mental state, ER staff refused to readmit him, so officers called for an ambulance to transport Mr. Kliment to another hospital. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, Mr. Kliment lost consciousness and stopped breathing. Officers immediately began to render cardiopulmonary resuscitation and requested medical assistance from staff inside the ER. Mr. Kliment was readmitted to CPMC and remained under their care until he was pronounced dead on January 7, 2019.
The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy and concluded that the manner of death was accidental; the method of death was drug related; and the cause of death resulted from a cardiopulmonary complication of methamphetamine and cannabinoid intoxication with law enforcement restraint. As a result of the lack of evidence suggesting that his death had been caused by officers, the IIB Unit found no officer wrongdoing.
Use of Force Against Lafayette Reed
Another incident involved the use of force against Lafayette Reed. On September 3, 2019, at approximately 3:30 p.m., an off-duty SFPD Officer Jeffrey Rosenberg was working overtime at the Westfield Mall in San Francisco when mall security asked for assistance in removing a man from the women’s restroom. Officer Rosenberg encountered Mr. Reed in one of the stalls in the women’s restroom and ordered him to exit and leave the mall. Mr. Reed did not immediately comply and was ultimately escorted through the mall toward an exit. As Mr. Reed was walking through the food court, he grabbed a plastic bottle and splashed water on Officer Rosenberg’s and the mall security guard’s face and chest. Mr. Reed then exited the mall near the Bart Station, while throwing the empty plastic water bottle, striking an unknown woman in the face.
Mr. Reed walked up the BART station escalators and into Market Street’s oncoming traffic lanes, ignoring Officer Rosenberg’s repeated orders to stop. Officer Rosenberg attempted to grab Mr. Reed’s shoulders, but Mr. Reed pulled away and swung at the officer’s head, narrowly missing. At that moment, Officer Rosenberg flagged down an SFPD cruiser. Officers Chris Quiocho (#1424), Kaitlyn Christ (#2213), Dennis Tupper (#2473), and Kevin Mooney (#2453), exited the patrol car and walked toward Mr. Reed, who was walking backward with his fists up in a fighting position. A federal patrol car driving on Market Street stopped in the middle of the road to avoid hitting Mr. Reed as Mr. Reed backed away from the officers and Mr. Reed then backed into its front bumper. SFPD officers tried to grab Mr. Reed, but he began throwing punches at the officers, striking Officer Quiocho once on the cheek and twice on the top of his head. The officers wrestled with Mr. Reed and ordered him to put his hands behind his back, but Mr. Reed continued to kick and punch at the officers. After a brief struggle, the officers wrestled Mr. Reed to the ground and handcuffed him. Mr. Reed was transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFGH).
Mr. Reed told investigators that the “police did not break his jaw,” and also explained that an unknown assailant broke his jaw several days prior to September 3.
The District Attorney’s Office will continue to provide updates about the results of officer-involved investigations as quickly as possible.