A San Francisco police officer and the man he opened fire on have each surrendered to authorities on assault and other charges after being indicted by a grand jury, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Officer Christopher Flores is facing three charges of assault with a semi-automatic firearm, negligent discharge of a firearm and assault by a public officer. He fired a single round at 25-year-old Jamaica Hampton during a violent confrontation in the Mission District last December.
Hampton is facing four counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of resisting arrest and battery with injury on a peace officer. Body-worn camera footage released by police showed him attacking Flores with a glass bottle and rushing his partner, Officer Sterling Hayes.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin previously revealed the indictments against Flores and Hampton, as the San Francisco Examiner first reported Monday, but did not disclose the charges until now.
Boudin said the indictments are consistent with local and national demands for the law to be applied equally to everyone, including police officers.
“The charges speak for themselves,” Boudin told the Examiner. “Mr. Flores and Mr. Hampton were victims of a violent crime and both are alleged to have committed a violent crime.”
While Hayes fired six shots at Hampton during the Dec. 7, 2019 encounter, he has not been charged with a crime.
Hayes discharged his gun while Hampton advanced toward him with the bottle, according to body-worn camera footage. Hampton was rising from the ground after being shot by Hayes when Flores fired a single round at him.
Hampton survived the shooting but had his leg amputated as a result.
Nicole Pifari, an attorney for Flores, previously told the Examiner both officers fired to “defend themselves from serious bodily injury or death.” She also questioned whether Boudin could prove the bullet Flores fired struck Hampton.
However Boudin said he does not need to prove that since Flores is not accused of causing great bodily injury to Hampton.
Danielle Harris, a public defender representing Hampton, previously said her client has already been punished “far more than the law would ever allow.” She said she hoped to resolve the case without causing Hampton further trauma.
The indictment against Flores came less than two weeks after Boudin announced his decision to charge another officer, Christopher Samayoa, with manslaughter for shooting and killing a man in 2017. Samayoa was a rookie officer at the time of the shooting and was later fired.
News of the indictment prompted a stern rebuke from the San Francisco Police Officers Association, which alleged that Boudin has “no intention of protecting officers who are the victims of violence.”
Police Chief Bill Scott also called the announcement “surprising and troubling.” In an internal email obtained by the Examiner, he appeared to come out in support of Flores.
“I have faith in our judicial system and confidence that justice will be done in this case,” Scott said.
He also appeared to be attempting to improve morale among the rank-and-file.
“It is critically important — now more than ever — to keep your heads up, be tactically safe and sound, take care of each other, and continue to serve continue to serve our communities with ‘safety and respect,’” Scott said.
Flores and Hampton have both been released from custody as of Wednesday, according to jail records.
A judge initially set bail at an amount that could have kept them behind bars but later reduced bail to a nominal amount, Boudin said. The District Attorney’s Office did not ask for them to remain in custody ahead of trial.
Flores faces a maximum sentence of 19 years for the assault with a semi-automatic firearm charge alone since it includes an additional allegation of personal use of a firearm.
Hampton faces up to eight and a half years in prison if convicted of all charges, Boudin said.
Both defendants are due in court for arraignment Jan. 11.