SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — SFPD Chief William Scott on Friday apologized for a raid on a freelance journalist’s home which sparked national criticism.
The raid at the home and office of stringer journalist Bryan Carmody on May 10 was prompted by a leaked police report which detailed the death of late San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi.
The information was reportedly sold to local news outlets hours after Adachi died on Feb. 22 from a heart attack. Scott said the search warrant came after city leaders demanded that the leak be investigated during a Board of Supervisors’ hearing last month.
Chief Scott first made his apology during an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle and, later, in an interview with KPIX 5’s Betty Yu.
“I’m sorry that this happened. I’m sorry to the people of San Francisco. I’m sorry to the mayor,” he said in the interview. “We have to fix it. We know there were some concerns in that investigation and we know we have to fix it.”
The chief also released a statement that said he had conducted a thorough review of the Adachi report criminal investigation over the past two days, exploring leak of the Jeff Adachi police report and the subsequent raid.
Chief Scott announced that the department will be setting up an independent and impartial investigation into the incident by an outside agency at the request of Mayor London Breed.
“I am specifically concerned by a lack of due diligence by department investigators in seeking search warrants and appropriately addressing Mr. Carmody’s status as a member of the news media,” Scott said in the release. “This has raised important questions about our handling of this case and whether the California shield law was violated.”
Besides the investigation by an external agency, the Department of Police Accountability will investigate the execution of the search warrant on Carmody’s home and continue their own investigation into the unauthorized release of the police report.
“Journalists and everyone in our City deserve a police department that will maintain the constitutional rights of all,” said Scott in the release.
Mayor London Breed was unavailable for comment but released a statement.
“I’m glad that the Chief has acknowledged the Department’s mistakes and apologized. But I remain deeply disappointed by the actions taken in this case up to today. This is unacceptable and we have to do better,” the statement read in part. “The actions being taken today are the right thing for the Department and for the City. We have to restore the trust among the Department, the public, and the media. An independent and free press is essential in our city and our society.”
A statement from Thomas Burke, the attorney for Bryan Carmody, said that it was “encouraging that Chief Scott acknowledged the illegality of the searches.”
Burke said his office was sent a copy of Chief Scott’s statement, but they have not received any other communication from police.
Earlier this week, an attorney for the police department said that Carmody would be getting back his property that was taken in the raid.