SFPD officer allegedly interfered with investigation of fellow officer for rape

A San Francisco police officer under investigation for allegedly raping a woman after taking her on a date was aided by a fellow officer who interfered with the investigation and then lied about it to investigators, according to two search warrants.

The warrants, which requested seizure of cellphones from officers Curtis Liu and Jason Lai and ordered a DNA sample from Officer Lai, were issued Aug. 9 and Aug. 11.

Charges haven’t been filed against either officer, but Lai has been assigned to a post without public contact and has been relieved of his firearm. Both officers are assigned to the Taraval Station, which patrols the Sunset.

Lai had known the victim for about a month before the alleged Aug. 2 incident, according to an interview with the victim, which is mentionedin the warrant. The two met when officer Lai came into her work where he ate. Lai chatted with her and asked her out.

“Lai told Liu he met the victim on his beat and they went to the victim’s house, they had some drinks, Lai got ‘hammered’ and does not remember anything else,” according to an interview with the then-acting captain, quoted by the warrant signed by Sgt. Joseph Minner.

But the victim, according to the warrant, claimed that after the pair drank six or seven drinks of gin and then whisky at her house, Lai raped her and she passed out.

Afterward, when Lai offered to bring her breakfast, she said, “You don’t have to do that, I won’t tell anybody.”

That same day he texted her asking if she wanted to go see the new Mission Impossible film. She replied: “That wasn’t something I can get over. Please leave me alone.” He replied: “Ok. Sorry.”

When the victim went to San Francisco General Hospital on Aug. 7, she wasn’t administered a rape kit because it was more than 96 hours after the incident, the warrant said.

Six days after the alleged incident, on Aug. 8, Lt. Liu saw an incident report with his friend Lai’s name on
it, according to the warrant. Liu then contacted Lai, telling him that he might be a suspect in a rape investigation.
“It is my belief that Liu intentionally interfered with a felony sexual assault investigation both by lying to the officers investigating the incident and by contacting the suspect, Lai, directly to inform him of the investigation and the progress of the investigation,” wrote Sgt. Minner. “Liu’s actions not only delayed the investigation but appear to also have been an attempt to prevent the investigation from occurring at all.”

Don Nobles, who is representing Lai, said, “I understand there’s an investigation going on” when asked about the matter.

But Liu’s attorney, Tony Brass, said his client simply made a mistake.

He didn’t intentionally try to interfere with the investigation and didn’t know for sure the Jason Lai named in the incident was the same one that worked with him at the police department.

“He was trying to figure out how to fix this,” said Brass about his client’s attempts to notify the right person about Lai being an officer.

Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink

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