Lee Heidhues 2.14.2022
Mayor London Breed is the Chief Executive of San Francisco. She needs to stop casting blame and making excuses for the cops. Change comes from the top and The Mayor needs to step in, step up and shake up the SFPD.
The San Francisco Police Department continues to be mired in incompetence and questionable activities which call into question the judgment of Chief Bill Scott.
The latest revelation that DNA of sexual assault survivors is being used to finger suspects in totally unrelated crimes speaks volumes about the SFPD culture, attitudes and policies. This disturbing news comes on the heels of Chief Scott’s unilateral cancellation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the District Attorney who has been responsible for investigating SFPD use of force incidents.
This decision by the Chief was nothing more than a cave in to the powerful Police Officers Assocation which has been a vicious foe of the District Attorney going back to his time as a candidate in 2019.
The Chief has forgotten he works for The People. Not the POA.
The SFPD is being deservedly hammered for its incompetence, sloppiness, laziness and ineptitude in responding to citizen complaints of crime even when some of these unlawful events are occurring before their very eyes.
The SFPD is relying on a lame excuse that the cops don’t want to do their job because prosecutions aren’t being pursued. That just doesn’t cut it and the time for the cops to blame the DA for their incompetence should not be permitted.
Today’s story of this DNA abuse is just the latest sorry tale coming to light.
Excerpted from The Standard 2.14.2022
District Attorney Chesa Boudin on Monday accused San Francisco police of using DNA evidence collected from sexual assault survivors to identify suspects in unrelated crimes, a practice he said raised legal and ethical issues and could dissuade reporting of sex crimes.
Boudin said he learned of the practice several days ago after an assistant district attorney discovered police allegedly used DNA evidence collected from a sexual assault survivor years ago to identify and arrest her in connection with a recent, unrelated property crime.
Supervisor Hillary Ronen said Monday that she asked the City Attorney’s Office to draft legislation prohibiting police or any other city agency from using DNA evidence obtained from a sexual assault victim for any other purpose than investigating their case.
“It never occurred to me in my wildest dreams that DNA evidence from a rape kit would be used against the victim,” Ronen said. “We need to stop this practice immediately.”
Boudin said the practice could compromise his ability to prosecute cases by violating the unreasonable search and seizure rules of the Fourth Amendment as well as Marsy’s Law, the state statute meant to protect the legal rights of crime victims.
Boudin announced his discovery Monday amidst an ongoing conflict with Police Chief Bill Scott, which escalated this month with the trial of a police officer accused of using excessive force. The two law enforcement officials accused each other of violating an agreement that makes the District Attorney’s Office the lead investigator of all police shootings, in-custody deaths and other serious uses-of-force in San Francisco.
In a statement, Chief Scott did not confirm the allegations and instead raised the possibility that the suspect “may have been identified through a DNA hit in a non-victim DNA database.” He said that the department’s “existing DNA collection policies have been legally vetted and conform with state and national forensic standards.”
“We must never create disincentives for crime victims to cooperate with police,” Scott said.