San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott sent a message to department employees Tuesday night, reminding them that the officer charged with voluntary manslaughter hours earlier is presumed innocent unless proven guilty for his role in a 2017 shooting that killed a man.
Scott’s message, emailed to employees shortly before 8 p.m., serves as the chief’s public statement on the matter — according to a San Francisco Police Department spokesman — after charges were filed Tuesday against Officer Kenneth Cha by District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Cha faces the manslaughter count as well as an assault with a deadly weapon charge and enhancements for the shooting of Sean Moore on Jan. 6, 2017, in The City’s Oceanview neighborhood. Moore ended up dying in 2020 as a result of his injuries, prosecutors said, something Scott acknowledged in his email had been confirmed by the coroner’s report.
Scott also reminded employees of the department’s response to the shooting nearly five years ago and shared links to video footage of the incident from officers’ body cameras.
“The San Francisco Police Department’s commitment to transparency in this case was reflected from the outset in a public Town Hall convened just days after the 2017 OIS (officer-involved shooting), and I am underscoring that commitment by providing links below — for members of our department as well as the public — to the notes from that 2017 Town Hall together with body-worn camera videos and today’s news release from the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office,” Scott said in his statement.
The District Attorney’s Office said the case is only the second homicide prosecution against an on-duty law enforcement officer in San Francisco history.
Moore was shot in the early morning hours at his home in the 500 block of Capitol Avenue after Cha and another officer had responded to a noise complaint by a neighbor. The shooting was captured on the officers’ body-worn camera footage and was the first shooting involving San Francisco police after the department had rolled out the cameras to officers.
Moore’s mother said her son had a history of mental illness and that officers should have deescalated the situation before Cha shot him. Moore was initially charged in connection with the case, but all charges were dropped later in 2017.
While in prison for a separate case, Moore later died on Jan. 20, 2020, from injuries caused by the gunshots that hit his liver and colon, prosecutors said.
San Francisco settled a lawsuit filed by Moore’s family for $3.25 million earlier this year, represented by civil rights attorney John Burris, who said he hopes the charges represent a new day of charging officers in such cases.
The union representing police officers called the charges politically motivated.