San Francisco, CA – A grand jury has indicted a San Francisco police officer in connection with the shooting of a violent attacker who repeatedly bashed him in the head with a vodka bottle last year.
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, the son of two convicted cop-killers, announced on Dec. 4 that a grand jury returned indictments against San Francisco Police Officer Christopher Flores, but did not disclose what specific charges he will face, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
Officer Flores was one of two San Francisco police officers who fired their weapons during the incident.
The attacker, 25-year-old Jamaica Hampton, was hit in the leg, which was later amputated, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
The grand jury also indicted Hampton on unspecified charges on Friday.
“As soon as the defendants are served with the warrants, we will be able to share with the public the scheduled arraignment date, the bail amount set by the court, and the specific charges that the grand jury chose to indict on,” Boudin said, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Boudin did not request pretrial detention for Officer Flores or Hampton, and encouraged them both to “voluntarily surrender.”
On Friday, a grand jury returned indictments against Officer Christopher Flores and Jamaica Hampton based on an incident from December 7, 2019.
I encourage Officer Flores and Mr. Hampton to voluntarily surrender.
I'll provide more information when an arraignment is scheduled.
— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) December 7, 2020
San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) President Tony Montoya fiercely defended Officer Flores after news of the indictment broke on Friday.
“Former Public Defender Chesa Boudin’s decision is absolutely appalling,” Montoya said, according to KRON. “Unprovoked, Jamaica Hampton brutally attacked Officer Christopher Flores, bludgeoning him repeatedly over the head with a Vodka bottle causing severe injuries to Officer Flores’ head. Mr. Hampton was the aggressor and Officer Flores acted to protect his own life and to protect the public.”
Hampton had previously been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and vandalism in connection with the attack, but Boudin dropped those charges in January, shortly after he took office.
“Boudin’s failure to personally file charges against Mr. Hampton for his vicious attacks on our officers sends a clear message that Boudin has no intention of protecting officers who are victims of violence,” Montoya said on Monday. “Mr. Boudin is communicating to law enforcement officers today that they must choose between protecting their lives or protecting their freedom, but they cannot do both.”
Officer Flores’ attorney, Nicole Pifari, said Hampton was in the midst of a “brutal, unprovoked, and incredibly violent attack” on police when they fired at him, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
But Hampton’s public defender, Danielle Harris, complained her client has already suffered enough.
“Jamaica has been punished far more than the law would ever allow,” Harris told the San Francisco Examiner. “I don’t believe that our legal system or community have anything to gain from prosecuting Jamaica Hampton given the swift and severe street justice that was dealt to him by police.”
“I look forward to helping him navigate the court process in a way that will hopefully minimize further trauma to him and his community,” Harris added.
The incident which led up to the shooting began when police received a report of a “hot prowl burglary” at 7:47 a.m. on Dec. 7, 2019, during which the male suspect had forced open the door of an apartment in the 900-block of Capp Street, according to KPIX.
The suspect fled the scene before police arrived five minutes later, but a few minutes later, 911 received another call nearby about a man who was trying to break into parked cars.
Officers searched the area and found Hampton wearing clothing that matched the description of the suspect, KPIX reported.
The officers stopped their patrol SUV and attempted to make contact with Hampton at an intersection after he crossed the street right in front of their vehicle, surveillance video showed.
The passenger door of the SUV opened and surveillance footage from nearby cameras showed that Hampton turned around and lunged the officer in the passenger seat.
Police said Hampton “aggressively advanced” on San Francisco Police Officer Sterling Hayes with a 200 ml glass vodka bottle and attacked him, KPIX reported.
His partner, Officer Flores, jumped out from the driver’s side and rushed around the rear of the vehicle to help.
But before Officer Flores had made his way around the back of the SUV, Hampton was rushing at him while brandishing the bottle, KPIX reported.
Hampton repeatedly struck Officer Flores in the face and on the head with the bottle, causing lacerations to his cheek under his right eye, the video showed.
Officer Hayes jumped into the fray to help his partner and Hampton took off down the sidewalk, with the officers right behind him.
Both officers repeatedly told Hampton to drop the bottle and to get on the ground but he ignored them, KPIX reported.
They attempted to deploy pepper spray at the suspect but were unsuccessful.
The video showed that both officers drew their weapons as Hampton played a game of cat-and-mouse with them, dodging across the street and onto the opposite sidewalk before he turned and rushed directly at Officer Hayes with the bottle still in his right hand.
Officer Hayes opened fire on Hampton, the video showed.
He fired six shots and Hampton dropped to the ground.
But the video showed the suspect didn’t stay down.
A split-second later, Hampton got back onto his feet and Officer Flores fired one shot to knock him down again, the video showed.
The video showed Officer Hayes ran back close to the suspect at that point and told Officer Flores to stop shooting.
Then he began yelling “Render aid! Render aid!” over and over as he pulled on gloves.
The video showed that Officer Flores bent over and started to take the suspect into custody, but Officer Hayes yelled at him to “glove up” first and then “render aid!”
Officer Hayes’ bodycam filmed the entire incident but Officer Flores’ bodycam was knocked off when Hampton initially attacked him, KPIX reported.
As other officers and supervisors arrived on the scene, Officer Hayes’ bodycam captured the officer becoming very upset about having had to shoot the suspect.
“Godd—it man, f–k! I didn’t want to do this! I didn’t want to f–king do this!” he told another officer repeatedly.
Once the ambulance arrived on the scene, the Officer Hayes’s bodycam captured audio as the officer began to sob.
The video showed that Officer Flores, clutching an ice pack to his bleeding face, stood with Officer Hayes and kept a hand on his arm as his partner wept.
“I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it,” Officer Hayes told a female sergeant who arrived on the scene. “I tried to pepper spray him – I got myself.”
Both officers involved in the shooting remain on the force, the San Francisco Examiner reported.