Police reports on active investigations are not usually made public, but the widely leaked confidential report on Jeff Adachi’s passing has sparked calls for hearings and investigations.
Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting opened with a truly heartfelt memorial lovefest for SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who died of a sudden heart attack Friday night. In accounts described by SF Weekly, Adachi was eulogized with superlatives like “the epitome of cool,” (Sup. Peskin), “a genuine superhero,” (Sup. Mar), and “walking in the Tenderloin with Jeff was like walking with Steph Curry or Beyonce” (Sup. Ronen).
But the supes are simultaneously furious that a number of personal details in the case were leaked to the press in the immediate wake of Adachi’s passing, presumably by the San Francisco Police Department. The Examiner reports that the supervisors have now called for hearings on how Adachi’s police reports were made public.
“It seems to be without precedent that this was leaked to the press,” Sup. Aaron Peskin told the Examiner Tuesday night. “The fact that Jeff Adachi stood up to aspects of Police Department behavior that were unacceptable does not mean that he should be mistreated after his passing.”
SF Weekly notes that “Every member of the Board of Supervisors cosponsored this hearing — with the exception of Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who the POA endorsed in her recent race for supervisor.” The supervisors aren’t the only ones calling for hearings while calling out the SFPD.
“You’re trying to balance the massive interest in information about the death of an elected official,” acting public defender Matt Gonzalez told the Examiner. “But on the other hand you don’t necessarily have to just put out details that nobody wants to hear.”
Even the San Francisco Police Department itself vowed to investigate the SFPD leaks.
“The public expects professionalism and accountability from the Police Department, and thus, we will diligently investigate this violation,” SFPD Sgt. Michael Andraychak said in a statement. “Anyone found in violation of established policies will be appropriately disciplined.”
Some of the more personal, and pretty clearly unnecessary details leaked to the press included the street address of the apartment at which Adachi suffered his heart attack, information about the woman he was with at the time, and reports of “alcohol, cannabis-infused gummies and syringes believed to have been used by the paramedics.” Critics charge that police were eager to discredit Adachi’s life work, much of which was spent exposing their malfeasance, by adding salacious sex and drugs conspiracy theories to the circumstances of his passing.
On a more respectful note, Mayor Breed and Adachi’s surviving family have announced a public memorial service for him at City Hall on Monday, March 4, at 11 a.m.