A shooting that killed an SF man and sent another to San Francisco County Jail was self defense, his lawyer says, perhaps one of the reasons the city's District Attorney has declined to charge him in the case.
You likely know the details by now: Police were called to the Glen Park home of noted San Francsico documentarian Kevin Epps at 1:24 p.m. Monday, where they discovered the body of 45-year-old Marcus Polk Sr.
Polk had been shot to death — and according to Polk's son, who is also Epps' stepson, the 48-year-old filmmaker was the shooter.
Polk's son said Monday that his dad "showed up out of the blue today and from what I’ve been told, he made a comment that ‘she doesn’t really like you.' I think that’s what did it. And [Epps] shot a man in the back.”
Epps was arrested by the San Francisco Police Department at the scene, and was booked into SF County Jail for both the shooting and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. (According to the Chron, "It wasn’t immediately clear why Epps was barred from possessing a gun, but Santa Cruz County Superior Court records show he was charged with two felony counts of penetration with a foreign object in 2002.")
Epps was released from lockup just before 1 a.m. Wednesday, after the District Attorney said they had insufficient evidence with which to charge him at the time. In a release sent Wednesday afternoon, the SFPD said that situations like this aren't ususual, and “It is not uncommon for the DA’s Office to request additional information on a case."
"SFPD investigators work closely with the DA’s Office," the SFPD said in their statement, "and the SFPD Homicide Detail will be continuing the investigation into this matter.”
As he was leaving jail Wednesday, Epps told reporters that the shooting was self-defense, but on his attorney's advice didn't provide additional details on the confrontation.
“My attorney has advised me as it relates to the matters of this case I really can’t speak on that period,” CBS 5 quotes Epps as saying.
In an Instagram video depicting his release (that's it above), Epps says "This is good to be out, youngblood. This is a blessing, man."
Epps' attorney, Mark Webb says that “The circumstances were such that the victim entered the home unwantingly, and made threats," CBS 5 reports.
“There was a shooting, and there was a death and it was in self-defense,” Webb says, according to the Chron. “The person who was killed was an unwanted intruder making serious threats of death."
The Chron reports that Polk was a registered sex offender, and according to ABC 7 had convictions for "domestic violence, robbery and drugs" and was recently "jailed again for parole violation and he was released last week."
In an interview with KQED, Webb says that "he spoke with the prosecutor, who seemed inclined to see the incident Monday as a case of self-defense."
Meanwhile, both San Francsico Board of Supervisors President London Breed and Public Defender Jeff Adachi had harsh words for how the case had been handled by SFPD.
“It’s unfortunate that if there’s insufficient evidence, I don’t understand why he was taken into custody in the first place. He has a reputation, and I hope this doesn’t create any challenges for him. I found it shocking,” Breed told the Ex.
“I just wish it was handled differently.”
"Who put the mug shot out there? Why was the case handled in the way that it was?” Adachi asked the Ex. “With the internet now, when something it put out there, whether it’s a mugshot or a story, that’s going to persist forever. If you Google his name, that’s the thing that will come up.”
(Epps' mugshot was sent to the media as a press release by the SFPD on October 25. This is typically done by SFPD's media relations team following media requests for a booking photo, the exception being when suspect identification issues remain outstanding.)
A friend of Epps, Shawn Richards of Brothers without Guns, also questioned SFPD's presentation of the case to media. Speaking with the Ex, he asked “Did the police tell you he didn’t run, that he sat there and waited?"
"He didn’t take off. He didn’t leave the scene. The police didn’t say that. The gun was sitting on the coffee table.”
For his part, Epps seems to be focusing on the positive for now.
“I feel blessed," he told CBS 5.
“I’m just really blessed that in SF, the justice system can work and justice can work for a black man in America."