A San Francisco police officer who fired a single shot at an unarmed suspect while responding to a burglary alarm in 2015 gave inconsistent statements and failed to demonstrate a threat but won’t face criminal charges because of a lack of evidence, the district attorney’s office said Tuesday.
No one was injured in the shooting, which a report by the district attorney’s office said was a “mitigating circumstance.”
Officer Sean Padilla’s account was inconsistent with statements by other officers with him and even the account he did provide did not demonstrate an imminent threat to his life, according to the report. Padilla did not respond to the district attorney’s office request for a follow-up interview.
However, the suspect, who admitted using methamphetamine prior to police arriving, also provided an “incoherent” account and prosecutors said that there wasn’t enough evidence to determine what had happened.
Padilla, along with officers Sean Cody and Scott Korte, had responded to the Ruby Skye nightclub at 420 Mason St. to investigate a burglar alarm at about 8:40 a.m. on Jan. 4, 2015. They went to the second-floor cigar room, where a motion sensor had triggered the alarm.
Padilla entered the room first followed by Cody and Korte. There was little light and the loud burglar alarm was still going off. Padilla fired a single shot seconds after entering.
The officers then found Demond Rogers naked in the room and took him into custody. Rogers was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and possession of narcotics paraphernalia, police said after the incident.
Padilla told investigators that he had seen “something” that was “rising slowly, almost in like a sneaking up pattern,” prompting him to shoot. He then found Rogers naked on the couch.
But one of Padilla’s colleagues recalled that Padilla said Rogers had jumped off the couch and scared him. Padilla reported on the police radio, “The guy popped out and I let off a round.”
“Padilla’s account raises some questions,” the district attorney’s report states. “Although Padilla stated that he felt ‘threatened’ and that his life was in danger, he did not specify any action by Rogers (or any indication a weapon was present) that suggested a basis for believing an attack was imminent.”
Regardless, prosecutors concluded that because no one was injured and because the account was difficult to substantiate, no criminal charges were warranted. The report explicitly does not comment on whether Padilla’s actions were within San Francisco Police Department policy.