SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has cleaned house in one regard, now having dismissed charges in all three police shooting cases brought by her predecessor Chesa Boudin.
In a late, right-before-a-holiday-weekend move, the SF DA's Office dropped charges against SFPD Officer Kenneth Cha for the fatal 2017 shooting of Sean Moore.
That grainy, tunnel-vision looking image above represents the moments before 43-year-old Oceanview resident Sean Moore was shot by an SFPD officer in January 2017 (Moore would later die from his wounds three years later). Officers claimed that Moore had tried to grab their batons, but bodycam video of the incident showed that did not happen. Once elected SF District Attorney, Chesa Boudin charged the shooting officer Kenneth Cha with voluntary manslaughter, which led one assistant DA to quit in protest.
BREAKING: DA Brooke Jenkins to drop the last San Francisco police shooting case, for the 2017 killing of Sean Moore by Officer Kenneth Cha.— Mission Local (@MLNow) July 3, 2023
“I’m very angry, I’m beyond angry,” Moore's brother said. “I’m in disbelief to be honest with you.”
via @jrivanob https://t.co/9xUVGX0OJe
But Mission Local had the Sunday scoop, albeit a highly unsurprising scoop, that Jenkins is dismissing the case against Cha.
“I’m very angry, I’m beyond angry,” Moore’s brother Kenneth Blackmon told Mission Local. “I’m in disbelief to be honest with you.”
Jenkins’s office confirmed they were dropping the case in a very unusual holiday weekend Sunday press release. “We are moving to dismiss the case against Officer Kenneth Cha as we do not believe that we can sustain our burden of proof that Cha did not act in reasonable self-defense,” the release says. “Prior to leaving office, District Attorney Gearge Gascón declined to charge this case.”
That’s not entirely true. Sean Moore died about two weeks after Chesa Boudin was sworn in as DA, and therefore was still very much alive during Gascón’s tenure. Moreover, Gascón had his eyes set on the L.A. district attorney job, and technically did decline to charge, but specifically left the case for whomever his permanent successor would be. Boudin brought the voluntary manslaughter charges about ten months into his term.
Boudin was the first DA in city history to bring charges against SF police officers for officer-involved shootings, though DA Jenkins has now dropped the charges in all three cases. In February of this year she dropped the charges in the 2017 fatal police shooting of Keita O’Neil. Then, in May, Jenkins dropped the charges in the case of the 2019 police shooting of Jamaica Hampton (Hampton survived, though had his leg amputated). In all three of these cases, Jenkins claimed Boudin brought the charges for “political reasons” or “political gain.”
But Jenkins too may be making the decisions to drop charges for political reasons, given the local police union’s strong support for her. And prosecuting Officer Cha might have brought some unpleasant revelations about the DA’s office, considering last week’s Mission Local exclusive that the assistant DA who prosecuted Moore’s case was romantically involved with the other officer in Moore’s shooting, and the two eventually married.
Image: SFPD bodycam footage