In the second instance of a San Francisco Police officer facing charges stemming from an officer-involved shooting in just two weeks, District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Monday that a grand jury has returned an indictment of Officer Christopher Flores for the December 7, 2019 shooting of 25-year-old Jamaica Hampton.
Flores was a rookie officer still doing field training last December when he and Officer Sterling Hayes encountered Hampton, who was a suspect in a hot-prowl burglary in the Mission District. Hampton appeared to be intoxicated near the intersection of 23rd and Capp streets, and allegedly assaulted Hayes through the passenger-side door of the police SUV that the two officers were riding in.
In the ensuing scuffle, caught on Hayes' body camera, Hampton also allegedly struck Flores with a 200ml glass vodka bottle, and was aggressive with both officers until Hayes drew his weapon. Hayes shot six rounds at Hampton, knocking him to the ground, and while Hampton was rising to a kneeling position on the ground, Flores shot him a second time.
Here is some of the body cam video. It is silent at first. Note: police say the other officer’s body cam was knocked off in a scuffle. At the end of the video you can see the injured police officer with cuts to his face. pic.twitter.com/bqHDRGdTEO— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) December 18, 2019
As the Examiner reports, the grand jury also indicted Hampton on unspecified charges, and the specific charge or charges against Flores remain to be announced. But the indictments indicate that the grand jury believed there was probably cause that both Hampton and Flores committed crimes.
Hampton survived the incident despite critical injuries, but had to have one leg amputated due to the shooting.
As SFist reported last year, Hampton was formerly homeless and battling addiction. At the time of the early-morning confrontation with police he had recently completed a substance-abuse treatment program with CityTeam, a religion-based recovery organization.
Both Flores and Hayes remain on the SFPD's payroll and in active roles at the department.
The indictment of Flores comes two weeks after the district attorney announced manslaughter charges against another former rookie SFPD officer in connection with the 2017 fatal shooting of 42-year-old Keita O'Neil. O'Neil was unarmed and was a suspect in a carjacking when he appeared to be fleeing police and was shot by then rookie Officer Christopher Samayoa, who was undergoing field training at the time. Samayoa was soon let go from the force.
The pair of cases will be a test for Boudin, who is just finishing out his first year in the DA's office. Back in January, Boudin caused an uproar from the Police Officers' Association (POA) when he withdrew charges against Hampton that were filed by his predecessor — something he said was necessary "so that we may have a chance to evaluate all the facts." The POA and Police Chief Bill Scott have referred to the incident as an "unprovoked" attack on two police officers.
As Boudin said two weeks ago with the first charges against Samayoa, he has been taking time to revamp the District Attorney’s Office Independent Investigations Bureau that was established under George Gascon — and which Boudin says was not functioning as it should until recently.