The head law enforcement official in San Francisco is bringing in three retired judges from outside the city to investigate arrests by 14 current and former police officers implicated in a bigoted text messaging scandal brought to light two months ago.
District Attorney George Gascón estimates the judges will review about 3,000 arrests -- some 1,600 of which were prosecuted. He said he hopes the review will be completed this year.
"If just one individual was wrongly imprisoned, that’s one too many," Gascón said Thursday. "On the other end, if we have someone that actually committed a crime, but that prosecution is compromised because of the credibility of this individual, we have a guilty person that may be released and continue to present a danger to all of us. The impacts both on liberty and victims are similarly unconscionable."
Gascón said the number of arrests and prosecutions affected is preliminary. He said judges and other members of a task force he announced a month ago will prioritize the 70 or so cases involving people currently in custody. The judges are working autonomously on cases affected by the texting scandal and culture of the police department, Gascón said.
His task force is also investigating the SFPD's DNA crime lab and the allegations that sheriff's deputies forced inmates to fight in one of the city's jails.