San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Monday that his office will no longer charge cases that rely on statements from officers who have a proven history of misconduct.
The new policy aims to ensure that people can’t be falsely prosecuted as a result of words or actions from officers with histories of misconduct like excessive force, discrimination, dishonesty or racial bias, Boudin said.
“We have seen across the country repeated instances of police violence inflicted upon people of color and the Black community-often by officers with prior known misconduct, yet whose words prosecutors continued to trust in filing charges,” Boudin said in a statement. “This directive ensures that members of the public are not wrongly or unfairly accused by officers whom we know have displayed the kind of misconduct that permanently damages their credibility or the trust we place in them,” he said.
Under the new policy, lawyers with the District Attorney’s Office’s Trial Integrity Unit will be tasked with compiling a list of officers who have documented histories of misconduct, which is to be updated regularly.
The policy would only apply to cases that rely solely on testimony from an officer with a known history of misconduct and wouldn’t apply to cases where others witnesses can corroborate evidence, deeming the testimony of an officer with a history of misconduct unnecessary.
Boudin, who took office earlier this year, has made several changes within his office in the last two weeks, including compensating victims of police violence. The changes are in response to worldwide protests demanding accountability in the face of several high-profile police killings of unarmed black people.
It’s unclear whether officers whose testimony cannot be trusted can do a satisfactory job as officers. A community meeting is being held Tuesday evening in San Francisco with Boudin and police Chief Bill Scott and the two are expected to discuss the topic, a police spokesperson said Monday night.
“The chief is anticipating the topic, and looks forward to a thoughtful discussion with D.A. Boudin about that and other issues tomorrow evening,” spokesperson Matt Dorsey said.
The discussion will take place at Manny’s, a restaurant and community space at 3092 16th Street, starting at 6 p.m. The discussion can be watched live on Facebook.