The San Francisco Police Department is under even more scrutiny this week, with the Chronicle reporting that a federal judge yesterday threw out a gun possession case following the introduction into evidence of surveillance video that appears to directly contradict the sworn testimony of the arresting officer. This comes on the heels of the still unfolding case of the Bayview Sergeant who allegedly made racist and sexual remarks — which CBS 5 now reports has led the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office to pull 66 cases connected to the sergeant in question for review.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer yesterday spoke of the case against Brandon Simpson, who was arrested on December 1 after police say he had both his hands in his coat, near his waistband, and tried to get away after officer Nicholas Buckley requested he stop and talk. Buckley testified he and several other officers then tackled Simpson, revealing a handgun. The problem with this sworn testimony, however, is that it is directly contradicted by video shot from a nearby building's surveillance cameras.
Instead of reaffirming Buckley's testimony, the Chronicle reports video shows Simpson slowly walking toward officers — with one hand holding a water bottle and the other clearly visible at his side — before officers tackled him.
"The worst thing in the world is the prosecution and conviction of an innocent person, or a conviction based on perjured testimony,” said Judge Breyer. “The affront is to all of us. ... I am not enraged, but I am deeply saddened.”
The video was show in court after Buckley's testimony, and, according to the judge, "[rebutted] nearly everything that the police officer testified to.” After the video was shown, the prosecution requested that charges against Simpson be dropped.
Meanwhile, the Public Defender's Office has pulled 66 cases for review following allegations that Sergeant Lawrence Kempinski used "inappropriate language" with "sexual and racial undertones." According to CBS, the potentially impacted cases range from petty theft to murder.