The report contained salacious details concerning the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, an outspoken advocate against San Francisco police corruption who died from a mixture of cocaine and alcohol, according to the ‘report.’
The San Francisco Examiner reported:
Freelance journalist Bryan Carmody told the San Francisco Examiner that his home and office were raided by police and FBI agents because he had obtained a copy of the police report, and sold information from that report to the press following Adachi’s death on February 22.
The leak drew wide condemnation and prompted members of the Board of Supervisors to call for the police department to investigate and hold accountable the source of it within the department.
Two weeks prior, Carmody said that he was interviewed by police officers about where he obtained his information, but refused to disclose his source.
Today, Carmody said that police and FBI agents executed a search warrant on his Richmond District home and Western Addition office.
They confiscated his cell phones, computers and a copy of the police report from within his office safe.
“They have completely shut down my business,” said Carmody, who has operated as an independent stringer for Bay Area and national television stations, including Fox News, CNBC and CBS Evening news.
Carmody accused police of “intimidation” to “make me break my [journalistic] ethics.”
“I’m refusing to give up my source,” he said.
A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson defended their action in a statement Friday, saying that the warrant was granted by a judge and the raid was “part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the leak of the Adachi police report.”
“Today’s actions are one step in the process of investigating a potential case of obstruction of justice along with the illegal distribution of a confidential police report,” the statement read.
Carmody said that police and FBI agents attempted to enter his home at 8:30 a.m. using “a sledgehammer.”
“They were in the process of breaking my gate down at which time I woke up and let them in,” said Carmody, adding that the authorities entered his home with guns drawn and searched “my entire house from attic to garage.”
Carmody said that he was detained in handcuffs for more than seven hours and asked to be released several times, but that authorities refused his request. He said he remained in handcuffs as police brought him along with them to his Western Addition office, where they found the police report in a safe.
Carmody doesn’t believe that whatever materials were confiscated would lead to identifying the source of the leaked report.
Friends and supporters of Adachi, who dedicated his career to uncovering police misconduct, said the leak was political retribution. Carmody declined to comment on the motivation of the leak.
At an April hearing it was revealed that a freelance reporter had allegedly sold the information to media outlets for $2,500 each, but his identity was not disclosed.
Public Defender Mano Raju, who succeeded Adachi, said in an email statement that he is “pleased that [Police Chief Bill Scott] and others are keeping their word and working to get to the bottom of it.”
“All of our criminal justice and City Hall leaders agree that the release of police reports in this fashion is wrong,” said Raju.
However, others are not “pleased” with the police state action. Already, claims of brutality and constitutional rights violations are popping up.
The fact that police can do this should scare all Americans. Especially given the fact that Carmody was not the insider who delivered the report. He simply obtained it.
Since police already questioned him, how was this raid justified?
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
“Somebody screwed up royally,” said David Snyder, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition in San Rafael, who called the raid outrageous.
At the heart of the dispute is a report that included photographs and details about what happened at the Telegraph Hill apartment where Adachi lost consciousness on Feb. 22 after spending the day with a female companion.
A copy of the warrant [for sledgehammering Carmody’s door] obtained by The Chronicle shows it was signed by two Superior Court judges — Victor Hwang and Gail Dekreon — but does not list a probable cause for the search.
Debating the issue on social media Saturday, attorneys pointed to precedents in which police obtained warrants to seize the work of independent journalists. In some cases, attorneys managed to retroactively quash the warrants and get the materials back.
“Same must happen here,” tweeted David Greene, civil liberties director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation of San Francisco.
Theodore Boutrous, a First Amendment lawyer in Los Angeles, said that “clearly” Carmody should not have been the focus of the Police Department’s investigation.
“They have a legitimate reason to find out who leaked information among themselves, but they should be searching in their own backyard,” Boutrous said. He urged City Attorney Dennis Herrera to press the case and recover Carmody’s possessions.
Carmody’s lawyer, Thomas Burke, agreed that the police went too far.