Police conduct questioned in drug possession case

“Outrageous” San Francisco cops handcuffed and arrested a disabled Oakland man last summer they never saw commit a crime, an attorney with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office charged Monday.

Clint Hunt, 49, was facing a 17-year prison sentence on charges that he sold pain pills in the Tenderloin on July 15. However, Hunt was a user, not an entrepreneur, a jury decided Friday following a four-day trial.

Hunt was convicted of the lesser charges of drug possession and parole violation, which landed him a three-year jail term, the Public Defender’s Office said in a statement.

An off-duty cop arrested Hunt — a chronic pain sufferer addicted to pain medication — claiming he tried to sell pills to him, according to Hunt’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Phoenix Streets.

The officer saw Hunt carrying a small plastic bag of pills. The cop testified that Hunt asked him, “What are you doing walking around here?” The cop also testified that Hunt walked away when asked what kind of drugs he was selling, Streets said.

“The off-duty officer then called a patrol officer, who immediately arrested Hunt,” the Public Defender’s Office statement said.</p>

The police officer’s arrest was “outrageous conduct and should not be tolerated in a free society,” Streets said.

SFPD declined to comment on the specifics of the arrest.

“This defendant had a jury trial, and the jury listened to all the evidence and the facts regarding the case, and they made a determination based upon that,” police spokesman Sgt. Troy Dangerfield said.

Hunt was arrested less than a month after SFPD top brass called for heightened efforts to rid the Tenderloin of illegal pill sales. He was detained near the hotbed intersection for pill vending — Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street — which is only feet away from an elementary school.

Hunt was sentenced to three years in state prison despite acceptance to a drug rehabilitation program, Streets noted.

Streets said he was disappointed that Judge Ronald Albers, who oversees Drug Court, sent Hunt to jail.

“I am disheartened that he will spend any time behind bars instead of being allowed to complete the treatment Judge Albers once endorsed,” Streets said in the statement.

Hunt’s pain derives from “a cracked skull, damaged back and a bone condition,” Streets said.

“This was an extremely weak case,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said in the statement.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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