The SF Sheriff's Department, already in the news for allegations that its deputies forced inmates to fight for entertainment, is this week on the receiving end of yet another public relations black eye. The Examiner reports that, under former Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, paperwork for three unfinished internal affairs investigations was allegedly placed in a brown paper bag and tucked away — with the statute of limitations nearly running out on all three.
Current Sheriff Vicki Hennessy is not happy about this, and was sure to make her frustration known. "I’m glad we found them because the three [Internal Affairs] cases we found, the time limit has not expired,” explained Hennessy, referring to the state of limitations on the three cases. “I can’t say who [placed them in the bag].”
“They just got stuffed behind a drawer,” Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff Eileen Hirst told the paper. “Our plan is to not store cases in paper bags.”
The three investigations were set to expire in either June or July of this year, and the department intends to move forward with them.
Troublingly, this is not the first we've heard of incomplete IA investigations of sheriff's deputies — not even the first time this week. It was just a few days ago we learned that four of the 11 investigations into allegations of excessive force against former Sheriff's Deputy Scott Neu, one of the deputies who allegedly forced inmates to battle for his entertainment, had been allowed to languish until the statute of limitations expired.
Former Sheriff Mirkarimi, for his part, isn't buying the story — calling Hennessy's version of events "very dubious.” We, of course, will likely never know exactly how the cases ended up tucked away in a brown paper bag — or if other bags with other cases still remain hidden somewhere in the Sheriff's office.