San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said Wednesday that he's terminating the department's agreement with the district attorney's office to investigate police use-of-force incidents and in-custody deaths following accusations that a DA investigator withheld evidence in a police abuse case, KTVU reported.
The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, was signed in 2019 and made the district attorney's Independent Investigations Bureau the lead agency in investigating officer use-of-force cases to avoid possible conflicts of interest with the police investigating themselves. The chief pulled the plug on the agreement following testimony last week from district attorney investigator Magen Hayashi, who said she was pressured by prosecutors to remove exculpatory information from an arrest warrant against Officer Terrence Stangel.
In a letter to the district attorney, Chief Scott said the rules of the MOU had been broken and therefore he was terminating the agreement, ABC7 reported.
"Everybody who has anything to do with this MOU and the impacts of it all depend on this being a fair system that we all have confidence in. That's what this is about,” Scott said.
The District Attorney's Office also issued a statement of their own Wednesday in response to Scott's letter saying "Following a string of fatal shootings by SFPD officers, SFDA and SFPD signed a joint MOU in 2019 to ensure that police use of force incidents would be independently investigated so that officers who inflicted unlawful violence would be held accountable. Since the MOU between our office and SFPD went into effect, our office has made enormous progress towards reducing police violence against San Franciscans and particularly people of color. It is disappointing but no coincidence SFPD chose to withdraw from this agreement during the first-ever trial against an on-duty San Francisco police officer for an unlawful beating. SFPD's decision comes a week after an SFPD fatal police shooting in which police falsely characterized the decedent as being in possession of a firearm and weeks after a criminal case was dismissed after officer excessive force came to light. San Franciscans deserve to be safe-including from unwarranted police violence."
SFPD's move Wednesday comes as a department officer is scheduled to stand trial next week for allegedly beating a man with a baton while responding to a domestic violence call back in 2019.