Tana Hampton, mother of Jamaica Hampton, speaks about her son outside Mission Police Station on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 after he was shot Saturday morning during an altercation with SFPD officers. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Man shot by police in Mission District struggled with homelessness, addiction

Mother questions whether police needed to use lethal force against her son

The person who was shot by San Francisco police in the Mission District over the weekend has been identified by his mother as 24-year-old Jamaica Hampton, a formerly homeless man from Sacramento.

Hampton was shot near 23rd and Capp around 8:34 a.m. Saturday. Police said he matched the description of a suspect in a nearby burglary and attacked two officers with a glass bottle.

His mother, Tana Hampton, told reporters Tuesday evening outside Mission Police Station that she had not spoken to her son in three weeks and questioned why officers had to use lethal force against him.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” his mother said. “He’s not aggressive that way. He has to be provoked. You have to provoke him… He’s not going to put his hands on somebody just because they are standing there.”

Jamaica Hampton remained in critical condition at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital as of Tuesday evening, according to a hospital spokesperson. Advocates say he was shot at eight times and struck three times.

Police have released limited details in the case and have not confirmed the identity of the man who was shot. But the San Francisco Police Officers Association has said the officers were attacked.

One of the officers was hospitalized with injuries and released late Saturday. A witness previously said that one of the officers was bloodied in the confrontation and cut on the face.

Tana Hampton said she has not been allowed to see her son since driving down with family from Sacramento on Tuesday. She questioned why police shot her son when the weapon he allegedly had was a glass bottle.

“Something is very wrong,” she said. “All I know is they did my son wrong and they act like it’s not a crime — it’s a crime.”

A video published online in October by CityTeam San Francisco, a social services organization that offers addiction recovery services, documented Jamaica Hampton’s story.

“Growing up was tough,” Hampton said in the video, dressed in all black with his hair tied into a bun at the crown of his head. “I remember being homeless a lot. It seemed normal at the time, my mom being homeless and dragging us with her.”

Hampton described “growing up in a drug house, all kinds of people in and out of it, and pretty much being raised there.”

Hampton said he entered the foster care system at age 12, where he and his siblings were “split up.”

“It carried over as an adult,” he said, adding that he suffered from anxiety disorder stemming from childhood trauma.

Hampton is candid in the video about struggling with substance use issues, and said he began drinking at age 21 to numb his inner turmoil.

“I was depressed, I tried to kill myself, and I ended up pushing everybody away,” he said. “I ended up becoming homeless, not really knowing how to get out of the situation I was in.”

Not having a father figure in his life, Hampton said there was a void in his life that he tried to fill “with drugs and alcohol.”

But he appeared to have found support to turn his life around with CityTeam and said his goal was to join the organization’s youth mentorship program for foster youth, and eventually become a social worker.

“I want to help the kids that were in my situation, and maybe just try to be a role model for them,” Hampton said. “I could be an example of what not to do — but also an example of how to get back on your feet.”

Police have yet to announce when they will hold a town hall meeting to release further details about the case to the public. The meetings are typically held within 10 days of a police shooting.

The incident marked the first on-duty shooting by the San Francisco Police Department since June 2018.

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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