Embattled liberal San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is facing a recall election this summer and the latest headlines out of the City by the Bay this week are unlikely to improve his prospects. The Chief of Police in his city announced on Thursday that the SFPD would no longer cooperate with Boudin’s office in the prosecution of any police officers accused of misconduct or charged with crimes. The reason for this decision stems from the claims of a prosecutor working for Boudin who said that she hid potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense attorneys representing a cop who was accused of excessive use of force. The prosecutor went public with her story, saying that she was ordered to withhold the evidence and feared that she would lose her job if she failed to comply.
The chief of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) said his department won’t work with the district attorney’s office on criminal investigations of police officers anymore after a whistleblower revealed prosecutors had been withholding evidence in a use-of-force case against an officer.
Magen Hayashi, a criminal investigator for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office, testified on Jan. 27 that she had been ordered to withhold exculpatory evidence in order to convict an officer of excessive force, FOX News reported.
Hayashi told the judge she was led to believe she would lose her job if she refused to do what they told her to do in the excessive force case against San Francisco Police Officer Terrance Stangel.
The case in question involved a police officer who was responding to a domestic violence call. The officer was accused of unnecessarily beating the suspect with his police baton, breaking his wrist and fracturing his leg. The officer was suspended pending an investigation and later charged with excessive force.
But according to the whistleblower, prosecutors knew that there was a witness who saw the suspect beating a woman and dragging her around by the neck. The suspect also fought back against the arresting officer. It turned out that the witness in question was the same woman who had called the police emergency line to report the domestic violence. There was also a second witness who made the same claim to prosecutors.
None of that witness testimony made it into the records and the whistleblower claims that it is now typical in Boudin’s office for such things to happen. She was forced to sign affidavits and understood that a failure to do so could cost result in losing her career.
It’s bad enough that Boudin is working overtime to make sure that as few actual criminals as possible ever spend a day behind bars. But if these allegations prove to be true and it turns out that he’s been working to unjustly frame cops so he can put them in jail, then this situation has shifted from gross incompetence to criminal malfeasance. We should ask ourselves what possible motive the whistleblower would have to lie about something like this? It doesn’t seem feasible. But it would truly be ironic if, in the end, Chesa Boudin winds up being the one to go to jail while all of the criminals he’s turned loose remain free on the streets.
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