Kevin Epps (Photo courtesy Kevin Epps/Facebook)

Arrest and release of SF filmmaker questioned by friends

The arrest and quick release of Kevin Epps, a well-known local filmmaker, for allegedly shooting and killing a man inside a Glen Park home has many questioning how police dealt with the case.

“It’s unfortunate that if there’s insufficient evidence I don’t understand why he was taken into custody in the first place. He has a reputation, and I hope this doesn’t create any challenges for him. I found it shocking,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed. “I just wish it was handled differently.”

Epps, 48, was arrested Monday at the scene of the shooting in the 100 block of Addison Street. Marcus Polk, 45, was found suffering from gunshot wounds in the home, where he died.

While police arrested Epps because they believed he was the shooter, some have posited that he acted in self defense.

Epps was initially booked on suspicion of murder, but on Tuesday night prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence to charge him and Epps has since been released from jail.

The Police Department said Wednesday that the investigation remains ongoing.

“It is not uncommon for the DA’s Office to request additional investigation on a case,” said a police statement on the case. “SFPD investigators work closely with the DA’s Office and the SFPD Homicide Detail will be continuing the investigation into this matter.”

Epps’ films include “Straight Outta Hunters Point,” which was released in 2003 and played at the now-shuttered Red Vic Movie House. “It was a big hit. It put Kevin right on the map,” said Norris.

Epps subsequently completed in 2009 the film “Black Rock” about black inmates at Alcatraz. In 2012, he released “Straight Outta Hunters Point 2.”

Friends and colleagues, all of whom were shocked at the news of Epps’ arrest, now say the way Epps was treated was unfair.

“Kevin was fortunate in a way, because the DA made an early decision not to charge him based on what they knew,” said Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who met Epps through the film world. “For many people, they are charged even though their case is later thrown out.”

Another friend, Shawn Richards of Brothers without Guns, said the whole affair was in poor taste.

“Did the police tell you he didn’t run, that he sat there and waited? He didn’t take off. He didn’t leave the scene. The police didn’t say that,” said Richards. “The gun was sitting on the coffee table.”

Adachi said the release of Epps’ mugshot and its dissemination on the internet is also troubling.

“Who put the mug shot out there? Why was the case handled in the way that it was?” said Adachi. “With the internet now, when something it put out there, whether it’s a mugshot or a story, that’s going to persist forever. If you Google his name, that’s the thing that will come up.”

Richards agreed.

“It just unfortunate how we portray people when we don’t really know,” Richards said. “I could have been in the same circumstances, too. I’m an ex-felon. It’s character assassination.”

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