SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — With an emotional statement from a widow, an apology from the San Francisco police department and a growing string of questions about an apparently unauthorized release of a police report, the aftermath of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi’s death unfolded in multiple directions at City Hall Thursday.
That leak, which came within hours of Adachi’s unexpected death attributed to heart disease and cocaine use, has outraged Adachi’s family, friends and colleagues. Thursday, the criticism came from the widow herself.
“It was despicable what the police department did to myself and my daughter by releasing the police report,” said a tearful Mutsuko Adachi, who blamed the SFPD for violating her family’s privacy.
“On behalf of Chief Scott and the police department, I apologize,” offered SFPD commander Greg McEachern. “We apologize to the Adachi family for that report being released.”
Police weren’t just on hand to apologize. They were at City Hall to field questions from supervisors who say the leak was a deliberate targeting of Adachi — a public defender whose career was largely defined by his dogged criticism of the police department.
“To have that type of maligning going on of a public official in San Francisco is disgusting,” said District 9 supervisor Hillary Ronen. “And we want answers.”
Supervisors weren’t the only ones asking questions. The public defender office had questions about the sale of the police report.
“A ‘stringer’ was offering to sell the police report regarding Mr. Adachi’s death to news outlets for $2,500 per copy of the police report,” explained Hadi Razzaq, an attorney with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
The leaked report was offered to KPIX 5 but the station did not purchase it.
Police, acknowledging that some type of wrongdoing occurred, say they have prioritized the investigation.
“I want to let you know that we are working tirelessly on this case,” said police captain Bill Braconi, who is leading the investigation. He called the investigation a “priority case” that he hoped to have resolved within weeks not months.