S.F. Police Union Calls on Chief to Resign Over Apology for Raid on Freelance Journalist's Home

The Police Officer's Association is calling on San Francisco Police Chief William Scott to be put on administrative leave and resign. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated May 26, 1:20 p.m.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association is calling on Police Chief Bill Scott to resign. The demand came a day after Scott apologized for the SFPD raid on the home of a freelance journalist.

The department is handing over the criminal case to an independent body and is now seeking an additional investigation into the department's actions, including those of the chief.

"SFPD Chief William Scott showed everyone in the SFPD, and all San Franciscans, what his character consists of," the police union said in a statement. "It was a pathetic, deceitful and shameful display of self-preservation, finger pointing, and political kowtowing."

A police department spokesperson said Saturday the Department of Police Accountability will conduct the investigation to look into how the case has been handled by all levels of the department. "Chief Scott has made it abundantly clear that transparency and accountability are paramount in this criminal investigation," the spokesperson wrote in a statement.

Earlier this month, police officers used a sledge hammer to bust open the front gate of San Francisco journalist Bryan Carmody's home. Scott justified the action this week and said he believed Carmody conspired with someone in the department to obtain a police report about the death of former public defender Jeff Adachi.

Press Freedom and the SFPD Raid
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But in an about face, Scott apologized Friday and wrote in a statement that he was "concerned by a lack of due diligence by department investigators in seeking search warrants and appropriately addressing Mr. Carmody’s status as a member of the news media."

In a statement, the police union challenged Scott's assertion.

It claimed Scott initiated the raid and that he was aware of Carmody's press status and withheld this information from the author of the search warrant.

"To just summarily throw these investigators under the bus for his own political coverage, that's unacceptable and he needs to answer to that," said police union president Tony Montoya to KQED in an interview.

"Remember, Chief Scott was for the search warrant of the journalist’s home before he was against it,"  said Montoya in the official statement. "He defended the search warrant in a trial balloon press release just days ago and when that balloon exploded he flip-flopped to being opposed to the search warrant."

However, Supervisor Hillary Ronen told KQED she commends Scott's apology but is not surprised by the demand from the union.

"They wanted an insider as the chief, then were mad when he was hired and will take any opportunity to criticize him because he's looking out for the larger San Francisco and is willing to step up and admit when him or the department is wrong," Ronen said.

On Sunday, the president and vice president of San Francisco's Police Commission also defended Scott, commending him for apologizing and his efforts to reduce police use of force while simultaneously overseeing a drop in violent and property crimes.

"The Chief has shown himself to be committed to reform and has done a lot to lead SFPD in the right direction," said Police Commission President Robert Hirsch and Vice President Damali Taylor in a statement. "We would like to see him continue the great reform work he has started."

KQED's Sonja Hutson contributed to this report.

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