San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office announced manslaughter charges against a San Francisco police officer in connection with a shooting that occurred in 2017.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin charged San Francisco Police Officer Kenneth Cha with voluntary manslaughter and and assault with a semiautomatic firearm on Nov. 2, the Associated Press reported.
Boudin also added enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury.
“We rely on officers to follow their training and to deescalate situations; instead, in just eight minutes, Officer Cha elevated a nonviolent encounter to one that took Sean Moore’s life,” Boudin said. “Sean Moore was unarmed and at his own home when Officer Cha shot him twice.”
The incident occurred at about 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2017 when police responded to a 911 call from a neighbor who complained that Sean Moore was violating a restraining order by banging on the walls, KTVU reported.
Prosecutors said Moore denied having violated the restraining order and told police he had just been sweeping his stairs and taking out the trash.
Moore claimed that he asked the officers to leave his property, but prosecutors said the officers refused to leave and pointed their flashlights at him, KTVU reported.
Prosecutors said the officers went up the stairs to Moore’s home and San Francisco Police Officer Kenneth Cha pepper-sprayed the man.
Officer Cha also sprayed his partner in the process, KTVU reported.
Prosecutors said Moore remained behind his security gate and refused to come out of the home.
Officers told him he was under arrest and ordered him out, KTVU reported.
San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said that Officer Cha threatened to kick Moore’s gate in.
That’s when prosecutors said Moore came outside and started yelling at the officers.
Prosecutors said the officer ran back up the stairs with their batons raised and then Officer Cha drew his weapon and shot Moore twice in the abdomen, KTVU reported.
Court documents alleged that “as Mr. Moore began retreating backwards up the steps toward his home, Officer Patino hit him with his metal baton.”
“Mr. Moore struck back, and Officer Patino fell down the stairs,” according to the district attorney’s office. “Officer Cha drew his gun, pointed it at Mr. Moore and ran up the steps towards Mr. Moore, who reacted by kicking in the direction of Officer Cha. The officers had been on the scene just eight minutes.”
All of the charges against Moore related to the incident were dropped by the district attorney’s office later that year, KTVU reported.
Moore died in January of 2020 while serving time in San Quentin State Prison on unrelated charges.
The coroner found that his cause of death was partially due to the injuries he sustained when he was shot by Officer Cha in 2017, according to KTVU.
Prosecutors said the bullets shredded Moore’s liver and also his right colon, causing lots of internal damage.
The district attorney noted when he announced the charges that Officer Cha hadn’t had a lawful reason to arrest Moore the night he shot him, KTVU reported.
“After a thorough investigation, my office is holding Officer Cha accountable for the death of Sean Moore, whom he lacked a lawful basis to even arrest,” Boudin said in a statement. “When officers inflict unwarranted violence in flagrant disregard of their training, it denigrates the hard work of other police officers and shatters the trust our community places in law enforcement. Rebuilding that trust requires us to hold those officers who inflict unlawful violence accountable.”
The First District Appellate Court has already ruled the officers were not lawfully performing their duties when they went up the stairs after the first time.
The city settled with Moore’s family for $3.25 million in June.
The police union has expressed its support for Officer Cha, KTVU reported.
San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya said that the officers who responded to the report of Moore violating the restraining order encountered a “very hostile” man.
“We support Officer Cha’s constitutionally protected right to present his defense against these charges that stemmed from this extremely volatile incident that an autopsy concluded took Mr. Moore’s life while he was serving time in prison on another matter,” Montoya said.
Adante Pointer, the civil rights attorney who represented Moore’s family, said he hoped the “charges will serve as a warning and deterrent for police not to kill people.”
Pointer told KTVU that Moore’s family was “happy that the officer was finally held accountable for killing Sean.”