SFDA Releases Summary of Investigation, Legal Analysis and Charging Decision in an Officer-Involved Shooting Incident

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 21, 2018

Twitter: @GeorgeGascon

CONTACT:     ALEX BASTIAN (415) 553-1931     |        NIKESH PATEL (415) 734-3205

 

SFDA RELEASES SUMMARY OF INVESTIGATION, LEGAL ANALYSIS AND CHARGING DECISION IN AN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING INCIDENT

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA) Independent Investigations Bureau (IIB) released the summary of investigation, legal analysis and charging decision related to an officer-involved shooting (OIS) incident.

 

The attached documents reflect SFDA’s commitment to the community that officer use-of-force 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). IIB focuses exclusively on determining whether criminal charges relating to the officers’ conduct are warranted. IIB does not examine issues such as officers’ compliance with their agency’s policies and procedures, their training or tactics, or any issues related to civil liability. This report should not be interpreted as expressing any opinions on such non-criminal matters.

 

OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING OF DEMOND ROGERS (ALSO SPELLED “RODGERS”) ON JANUARY 4, 2015

 

On January 4, 2015, at about 8:40 a.m., a burglar alarm sounded at Ruby Skye, a nightclub and lounge on Mason Street in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Arriving first, Officer Sean Padilla, Star No. 4177, responded around 8:54 a.m., followed by several other officers, including Sean Cody, Star No. 1375, and Scott Korte, Star No. 4031. Together, Padilla, Cody and Korte went to Ruby Skye’s second floor, where the “Cigar Room” was located and an interior motion sensor had triggered the alarm. The three officers approached the “Cigar Room” together, with Padilla entering first and turning left and Cody and Korte trailing Padilla. All three had their service weapons drawn because they were responding to a burglary call. The lighting was dim and the loud burglar alarm continued to sound. Within seconds of entering the room, Padilla fired a single shot. An individual, later identified as Rogers, was found naked in the room and taken into custody by 9:24 a.m. No one was injured or struck as a result of the discharge.

 

Rogers’ account of the event was incoherent, and he stated that he only realized the officers’ presence when he “heard a loud pop.” He admitted to being under the influence of “crystal” prior to entering Ruby Skye. Evidence of alcohol and drug consumption was located near Rogers and Rogers’ belongings in the Cigar Room.

 

Padilla explained in his interviews with the SFPD Homicide Detail and with the SFDA’s Office that after entering the dimly lit “Cigar Room,” he moved left and swung in a leftward direction to search that side of the room with his flashlight and drawn gun. He claimed that as he panned back rightward, he saw “something” that he did not see before and described “it” as “rising slowly, almost in like a sneaking up pattern.” He explained, “I thought something was sneaking up on me and threatening me and I shot.” He then moved to get a look at the “dark mass” or “object” and saw Rogers, naked and alone on a couch. Citing his experience and training, including that with SWAT, Padilla claimed Rogers’ slow “rising” indicated an intent to sneak up “to gain an advantage” on Padilla.

 

Insufficient evidence exists to establish what occurred—much less prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any crime was committed—in the “Cigar Room” that morning. Padilla’s account may be inconsistent with descriptions provided by colleagues, but surveillance footage neither supports nor undermines Padilla’s account. Rogers cannot credibly relate an account of the incident, and no other witnesses or evidence exist to do so. As a result of the lack of evidence, as well as the mitigating circumstance that no one was injured in this incident, the District Attorney declines to file any criminal charges in this matter.

 

The Officer Involved Shooting report is available on the SFDA website at:https://sfdistrictattorney.org/decision-letters

 

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