San Francisco Police Commission Vice President Damali Taylor questions Police Chief Bill Scott about the police raid of journalist Bryan Carmody at City Hall on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF Police Commission leaders back chief amid call for resignation

Police union demanded Scott step down after apology over Adachi leak investigation

Police Chief Bill Scott has not lost the support of San Francisco’s Police Commission leadership despite pressure to resign by the rank-and-file officers union over his handling of an investigation into a leaked police report.

Police Commission leaders issued a statement Sunday backing Scott and his apology to the press for raiding the home and office of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody during the leak investigation.

Commission President Bob Hirsch and Vice President Damali Taylor said in the statement, “Chief Scott did what is rare for police chiefs: he apologized to the citizens of San Francisco.”

“He did so completely and unequivocally,” Hirsch and Taylor said. “That is the mark of a leader.”

Scott stood by the widely condemned raids for two weeks before coming out against them on Friday, saying that the San Francisco Police Department “must do a better job” to protect the “constitutional rights of all.”

Freedom of the press advocates were outraged when the SFPD executed the search warrants against Carmody May 10 while investigating who leaked the report on the February death of the late Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

Federal and state law protects journalists from having search warrants issued against them.

On Saturday, the San Francisco Police Officers Association said the source of the leak should be held accountable and called the investigation “righteous” while taking issue with Scott’s apology.

SFPOA President Tony Montoya and his executive board released a scathing statement accusing the chief of “finger pointing” at the investigators who obtained the warrants against Carmody instead of accepting responsibility for the raids.

“Chief Scott oversaw and ordered the investigation and raid of a journalist’s home, and then when the optics did not go his way, he threw the men and women who carried out his orders under a double-decker bus,” the union said.

In response, a police spokesperson said the chief has not only asked outside agencies to take over the criminal leak investigation but for an independent investigation into the conduct of SFPD personnel by the Department of Police Accountability.

The DPA “will examine how this case has been handled on all levels — including the Command Staff through the Chief of Police- and provide accountability and answers,” spokesperson David Stevenson said.

Scott asked for the independent criminal investigation at the request of Mayor London Breed.

Hirsch and Taylor, of the Police Commission, said Breed “made the right decision in calling for an independent investigation.”

“The Adachi matter raises serious issues for San Francisco,” Hirsch and Taylor said. “We will not comment further, and we eagerly await the results of that investigation.”

The commissioners went on to commend Scott for reforming the department “without sacrificing safety” as crime is on the decline in San Francisco.

“The Chief has shown himself to be committed to reform and has done a lot to lead SFPD in the right direction,” Hirsch and Taylor said. “We would like to see him continue the great reform work he has started.”

mbarba@sfexaminer.com

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