Boudin halts prosecution of man shot by police in Mission

Newly elected District Attorney Chesa Boudin has withdrawn the criminal complaint against a man who was shot by police after allegedly attacking two officers in the Mission, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Jamaica Hampton, 24, faced various charges including assault after videos appeared to show him striking an officer with a glass vodka bottle near 23rd and Mission streets last December before being chased and shot by police.

On Friday, Boudin withdrew the charges because his office is also investigating the two officers who shot at Hampton.

“It would be problematic to ask the officers to testify while they are under investigation,” Boudin told the Examiner on Saturday.

Boudin said the Hampton case will remain under investigation and that his office will have at least three years to refile the charges if necessary.

“Mr. Hampton remains in the hospital in serious condition so there is no public safety concern with allowing the investigation to proceed and for my office to obtain more information on [both] sides of the investigation,” Boudin said.

Hampton’s shooting prompted a raucous town hall meeting in the Mission in which supporters and advocates questioned whether police needed to use lethal force against him.

Hampton, a formerly homeless man who worked as a waiter in Oakland, was shot three times on Dec. 7, 2019. He has since had his leg amputated, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his supporters.

Officers Christopher Flores and Sterling Hayes were searching for the suspect in two calls including a hot prowl burglary when Hampton crossed in front of their police SUV and allegedly attacked them.

Boudin’s decision spurred outrage from the police union and elicited a response from Police Chief Bill Scott, who sent an email Friday to the entire San Francisco Police Department about the case.

“This unprovoked attack was a violent, criminal act,” Scott said in the email obtained by the Examiner. “I want you to know that we remain committed to working with the DA to see that justice is done in this case for our officers.”

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya, who has condemned Hampton from the start, also sent a letter to Boudin urging him to prosecute Hampton “for this unprovoked, violent assault.”

“We urge you to protect police officers and the public from dangerous individuals such as Jamaica Hampton and hold him accountable for his assault,” Montoya said Friday in the letter obtained by the Examiner. “Failure to do so sends a message to every suspect that it is perfectly acceptable to physically assault an officer to get away with your crimes.”

Separately, Montoya emailed SFPOA members declaring in the subject line that “Police Lives Don’t Matter.”

“The decision to dismiss Hampton’s case confirms the DA is not interested in representing crime victims, much less police victims,” Montoya wrote.

Boudin said his office is developing a policy to “avoid the conflicts that cases like this involving multiple potential suspects and case theories present.”

Under a new agreement with the SFPD, his office is the lead investigator in police shootings.

This story has been updated to include additional information and clarify the status of the case.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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