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California

San Francisco police union says chief must quit, calling his apology ‘pathetic’

William Scott
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott apologized Friday for raiding a freelance journalist’s home and office. Now the San Francisco Police Union is calling for him to step down.
(Eric Risberg / Associated Press)

The San Francisco Police Officers Assn. is calling on Police Chief Bill Scott to step down after he apologized for his officers’ raid of a journalist’s home.

“It is time for Chief Scott to go. There’s no other way around it,” union leaders wrote in a statement released Saturday, one day after Scott issued the public apology.

The statement described the chief’s public concession as a “pathetic, deceitful and shameful display of self-preservation, finger pointing, and political kowtowing.”

Scott’s apology, issued Friday, represented an abrupt reversal from just a few days ago, when he voiced suspicions that journalist Bryan Carmody committed a crime by obtaining a leaked report detailing the circumstances surrounding San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s death and selling it to local news outlets.

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Police officers with a sledgehammer arrived at Carmody’s home on the morning of May 10. They handcuffed the reporter before seizing his notebooks, hard drives and phones in the hopes they might reveal his secret source.

The search took about six hours.

Since news of the search broke, journalists and 1st Amendment advocates have voiced their outrage that a journalist could be searched in such a manner.

The California Constitution includes what’s called the Shield Law, which protects journalists from being held in contempt for refusing to identify their sources. It also bars police from executing search warrants for materials covered by the law.

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The San Francisco Police Officers Assn. said Scott oversaw and ordered the investigation and raid of Carmody’s home, and that he knew of Carmody’s status as a member of the press.


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