• Search

New DA Plans To Drop Politically-Motivated Charges Against San Francisco Cop

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco’s new district attorney, who replaced former District Attorney Chesa Boudin after he was recalled by voters last year, announced plans to dismiss the long-standing charges against a rookie San Francisco police officer who fatally shot an unarmed carjacking suspect on his fourth day on the job in 2017.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins sent a letter to California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Feb. 8 that asked the state’s highest law enforcement officer to take over the case, CNN reported.

The eight-page letter sent to Bonta detailed the incident, the evidence, and the internal conflicts of interest within the district attorney’s office that she believed prevented it from moving forward with the prosecution of San Francisco Police Officer Christopher Samayoa.

Officer Samayoa was charged with assault with a semiautomatic firearm, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, assault by a police officer, involuntary manslaughter, and voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of 42-year-old Keita O’Neill when Boudin was running the prosecutor’s office.

Boudin told the San Francisco Examiner at the time that he was considering elevating the charges against the officer to include murder.

But when Jenkins reviewed the case, she saw it very differently.

“In support of the family’s wishes, we have asked the California Attorney General’s Office to independently review this case because of the conflicts and issues that have arisen and we will assist their office in any way that we can,” Jenkins told CNN in a statement.

Jenkins explained to Bonta in her letter that she believed the prosecution of Officer Samayoa was political-motivated.

“It appears that the case was filed for political reasons and not in the interests of justice,” the letter read. “I cannot pursue this case out of political convenience. Given the conflicts that have arisen, the evidentiary problems, and the complete lack of good faith surrounding the filing of this matter, we cannot ethically proceed with this prosecution.”

“Therefore, it is our intention to dismiss the charges made in this case, unless the Attorney General’s Office decides to step in and take over the case,” Jenkins added.

The district attorney told Bonta that he intended to drop the charges against Officer Samayoa at a hearing scheduled for March 1, CNN reported.

The officer-involved shooting occurred on Dec. 1, 2017, after O’Neil allegedly assaulted a female California State Lottery worker and carjacked her state-owned minivan in the Bayview District, according to KGO.

Officer Samayoa and SFPD Field Training Officer Edric Talusan responded to the area and ended up in a pursuit with the stolen van, The New York Times reported.

Several blocks later, O’Neil hit a dead-end and bailed out of the stolen vehicle, according to police.

He took off running on foot towards the officers’ patrol car as additional officers closed in and attempted to block his exit, The New York Times reported.

Bodycam footage showed Officer Samayoa firing a single round at O’Neil from the passenger seat as the suspect ran by him.

O’Neil was rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the San Francisco Examiner reported.

The former district attorney told CNN he took umbrage at what his replacement had alleged in her letter to the state attorney general.

“It’s clear Jenkins has been coordinating with the officer’s defense team to avoid a public hearing on the disturbing facts of the case,” Boudin claimed.

He told CNN that Jenkins “is scapegoating me to try to divert attention from what this decision ultimately reveals about her: Jenkins will not hold everyone equally accountable under the law, she is deeply politically motivated, and she does not care about victims of police violence.”

But attorneys for Officer Samayoa praised the prosecutor’s decision.

“Chesa Boudin’s filing of this case was irresponsible, reckless and motivated by what I believe to be blind political aspirations; attempting to make my client his professional deer-head with no consideration for prosecutorial integrity,” defense attorney Julia Fox said in a statement. “Conversely, Brooke Jenkins and her Managing Attorney Darby Williams have been thoughtful and conscientious in their analysis of this political hot potato that was senselessly dropped in their laps.”

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

View all articles
Written by Sandy Malone


Sign up to our daily newsletter so you don't miss out on the latest events surrounding law enforcement!

Follow Me

Follow us on social media and be sure to mark us as "See First."