The SFPD will be under scrutiny in the coming months for the fatal shooting of civilians, in this case two men who were possibly both homeless who were engaged in an altercation at Mariposa Park when officers arrived last week.
Officers were called to the park, in the area of Mariposa and Owens streets, just before 8 p.m. last Thursday night, May 19, on a report of a knife-wielding man assaulting another man. Not long after they arrived, both men would end up fatally shot, and the Chronicle now reports via a leaked Medical Examiner's report that it appears officers fatally shot both men.
Early reports from the SFPD about the shooting were decidedly vague, with statements suggesting that one or both of the men were armed, and that there might have been some sort of shootout, so it was hard to say who shot whom.
But an initial report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner that was made Tuesday suggests that 57-year-old Michael MacFhionghain — who may have been the assailant police say was armed with a knife — died from multiple gunshot wounds; and 49-year-old Rafael Mendoza died from a single gunshot wound to the torso. The Chronicle obtained the cause-of-death determination, and two anonymous law enforcement sources confirmed to the paper that the victim in the reported knife assault was unarmed. It remains unclear which of the men that was, but now we know that Mendoza was only shot once.
Both men are listed by the medical examiner as having unknown cities of residence, which often indicates homelessness.
As SFist reported Monday, State Attorney General Rob Bonta's office has opened an investigation into the shooting — which is now standard procedure under state law, whenever an unarmed civilian is killed by police.
The San Francisco District Attorney's Office, the SFPD Investigative Services Division (ISD), the SFPD Internal Affairs Division (IAD), the Department of Police Accountability (DPA) are all conducting their own investigations into the incident.
Neither Bonta nor the SFPD has publicly discussed any of the details of the case, which are expected to be revealed — at least in part, presumably with body-cam footage — at an upcoming town-hall meeting. The SFPD's policy is to hold a community meeting within 10 days of any police shooting.
Last week's shooting was the first officer-involved fatality since the January shooting of Nelson Szeto at SFO.
The date and time of the town-hall meeting about this shooting have not been announced.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images