San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has instituted policy changes during his six months in office to ensure the San Francisco Police Department behaves with integrity.
An initiative announced in June will make cops accountable for their investigative work. Cops with a record of, amongst several behaviors, dishonesty will be scrutinized and their investigations monitored for bias.
When a cop is found to violate the policy those cases will not be charged or prosecuted.
This is a needed policy change by DA Boudin.
Top Photo: Former Mayor Willie Brown with Chesa Boudin 2020
San Francisco Chronicle 6.16.2020
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin issued a new policy directive in June that would prevent cases from being charged or prosecuted based solely on the testimony of officers with a history of “serious misconduct.”
Under the policy, officers with a record of misconduct related to excessive force; racial bias; discrimination based on race, national origin, sexual orientation or gender; or dishonesty about a crime will be identified on a list by the district attorney’s office, officials said in a release.
Charges will not be filed in cases in which such an officer is the only source of a “material” fact necessary to potential charges, without the district attorney’s approval, officials said.
A material fact is one that can’t be proven conclusively without an officer’s testimony.
The list of affected officers will be compiled by the district attorney’s office’s Trial Integrity Unit and updated regularly, officials said.
Officials said the directive is “aimed at ensuring that no one is falsely prosecuted as a result of the word or actions of officers with a known history of excessive force, dishonesty, or racial bias.”
“We have seen across the country repeated instances of police violence inflicted upon people of color and the Black community – often by officers with prior known misconduct, yet whose words prosecutors continued to trust in filing charges,” Boudin said in a statement.
“This directive ensures that members of the public are not wrongly or unfairly accused by officers whom we know have displayed the kind of misconduct that permanently damages their credibility or the trust we place in them.”
Cases that can be charged and prosecuted based on the account of an unaffected officer or by additional evidence that renders an affected officer’s account unnecessary will still be allowed to proceed, officials said.
The directive comes as law enforcement organizations nationwide explore reforms in response to police violence, including the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis that touched off a wave of protests and demonstrations across the country.