The infamous “sledgehammer raid” on the home of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody may have only been the tip of the iceberg, as SFPD admits to executing a half-dozen more warrants, at least one of which was illegal.
Today brings more surprises in the ever-expanding scandal over the police leaks of private details of Jeff Adachi’s death report, the unusual sale of this information for $2,500 to multiple local media outlets, the SFPD raid on a freelance journalist’s home to find the leak culprit, and the very hot seat on which SFPD chief Bill Scott now sits because of this mess. Chief Scott admitted in an extraordinary late-afternoon Friday before Memorial Day weekend press conference that the raid on freelance journalist Bryan Carmody’s home was probably illegal, and today we learn the scope of the raids was larger than we realized. The Chronicle reports that seven search warrants have been carried out in the case, noting these included “searches of officers and one of the journalist’s phone records.”
This is the first we’ve heard of SFPD executing warrants on its own officers in this matter, which may explain why the police union is calling for Scott’s resignation. At least one officer has lawyered up, according to the Chronicle report, and that attorney acknowledged that one of the warrants was a search through Carmody’s phone records — a search executed without Carmody’s knowledge, and prior to the infamous May 10 sledgehammer raid on his home.
And Carmody may have a case that the search of his phone records was illegal, or at least, his lawyers think so.
“It would be deeply troubling to learn that the SFPD not only obtained an illegal search warrant for Mr. Carmody’s home and office, but that they also illegally obtained a search warrant for his phone records,” his attorney Ben Berkowitz told the Chronicle. “If that is true, not only is it illegal, but it clearly violated the First Amendment and the California shield law and they need to be held accountable for it.”
The raid on Carmody’s home has seemingly turned him from heel-to-hero in the court of public opinion. The initial outrage over Adachi’s illegally leaked confidential reports being seedily shopped about town for $2,500 a pop has boomeranged into outrage at the SFPD for trying to prosecute that very illegal leaking. Now the SFPD is taking all the flack, as the Police Officers Association issues scathing calls for Chief Scott’s resignation since individual officers are now clearly being investigated. Meanwhile, Mayor Breed, the NAACP, and the Police Commission are all scrambling to Chief Scott’s defense.
An apparent attempt to smear Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who repeatedly clashed with police, has now turned into a civil war that's publicly dividing the San Francisco Police Department. That’s an ironic outcome we imagine would probably very much please Jeff Adachi.