We find this story odd and disturbing: 28-year-old Matthew Martinez, a local chef, was walking near 8th and Mission when a staggering man holding a beer can came up to him and asked if he could buy a cigarette. Martinez gave him one, and the guy strangely gestures to his shirt pocket which has a wad of bills sticking out of it. Martinez says he took out a single dollar and pushed the rest back in his pocket, but immediately he was thrown up against a car, handcuffed, and taken to police headquarters where he sat for three hours before being told what he was arrested for doing.
It turns out the "drunk" guy was one of eight undercover officers who were part of a sting from the SFPD's controversial "Robbery Abatement" program, which focuses its efforts on protecting those who are "down on their luck" from being robbed. The trouble is, the police have been accused of using this very expensive undercover operation to entrap poor people who may or may not have had any intention of robbing other poor people, doing things like walking around with wads of money falling out of their pockets.
Martinez was found not guilty last week, and the jury only had to deliberate for 15 minutes before reaching their verdict.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi says, "This case illustrates how easily the line between crime prevention and crime manufacturing can be crossed." The DA's office, sticking to their guns that Martinez -- who's held positions of responsibility in restaurants in San Francisco, Portland, and New York -- was guilty, said they “respectfully disagree” with the verdict.
Seriously though... this is what the SFPD is up to?