SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A year-and-a-half after the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, the public disagreement over the cause of his death has now become the subject of a lawsuit that accuses a top city official of pressuring a Medical Examiner administrator to change the autopsy report.

According to the lawsuit Christopher Wirowek filed against the city and county of San Francisco, Wirowek claims City Administrator Naomi Kelly went to the Medical Examiner’s office and demanded changes:

“Ms. Kelly ordered Claimant to alter and edit the report findings … which would materially alter and falsify the already completed autopsy report.”

The lawsuit claims Wirowek refused to alter the report:

“… knowing that it was against the law to knowingly falsify an autopsy report, Mr. Wirowek told Ms. Kelly she could not make changes to the autopsy report and that he would release the report as the doctors wrote it.”

Soon after, Wirowek publicly released the Medical Examiner’s official findings which said Adachi died from a mixture of cocaine and alcohol that caused his heart to fail.

READ THE LAWSUIT: Wirowek vs. City and County of San Francisco

A source at City Hall tells KPIX 5 that while it is true the city administrator did visit the medical examiner’s office at that time to talk about the public release of information, Kelly absolutely did not order or ask for the cause of death findings to be changed. In fact, the source noted, the Medical Examiner pathologists had already signed the paperwork and there would have been no way to change it.

The San Francisco City Administrator’s office told KPIX 5 in a statement, “The lawsuit’s allegations regarding the city administrator are complete fiction.”

It is still not clear exactly what changes the City Administrator was alleged to have ordered. Those details were not specified in the lawsuit.

Attorney Tanya Gomerman who represents Wirowek said her client is anxious to elaborate publicly when the time is right.

A subsequent autopsy report from the San Francisco Public Defender’s office claimed Adachi died of natural causes. In a blog posting, the Public Defender’s office also claimed Wirowek had a grudge against Adachi because the late Public Defender had asked for Wirowek to be investigated over claims about the accreditation of the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Comments