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S.F. Officers Face Disciplinary Action

From Associated Press

Five police officers may lose their jobs after being accused of improperly searching two girls and violating a teenager’s rights, police said.

The disciplinary action, approved by acting Police Chief Alex Fagan, resulted from a confrontation between police and the three black youths on Jan. 21.

The incident outraged the local black community and led to an investigation by the Office of Citizen Complaints, resulting in the internal disciplinary charges.

The five officers face hearings before the San Francisco Police Commission, which will determine what action to take against them.

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Marcial Marquez and Adam Choy, both officers, and Sherman Lee and Walter Cuddy, both sergeants, were accused along with a fifth unidentified officer who hasn’t yet been served with the complaint.

Police were initially called because two black men were seen with guns in the area.

When Marquez and Choy arrived, the complaint said, they ordered two girls -- one of them a 12-year-old -- out of a car at gunpoint. Marquez searched the young girl, while Choy searched the 14-year-old, according to the complaint.

The charges allege the searches were “unnecessarily intrusive,” and should have been conducted by female officers.

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Jerome King-Brown, 14, protested the searches.

The officers threw him face-down on the concrete before handcuffing him, the complaint said. King-Brown was left bleeding and needed 11 stitches.

Lee was accused of abandoning the initial investigation of armed men; of failing to advise King-Brown of his rights; and of refusing to respond to complaints from the boy’s father, among other things.

Police said they restrained King-Brown because of his “violent demeanor.”

They cited him for delaying arrests, but the case was dropped by juvenile authorities after an investigation.

Witnesses said that during the searches, the girls’ crying mothers were ordered by police to stay back.

The fifth officer allegedly told an onlooker that “as long as you people are here, we will act like this.”


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