Police Memo Says Officers Raiding A Journalist's Home Were Instructed To Turn Off Their Body Cameras
from the police-cops-are-truly-an-inspiration-to-us-all dept
No one involved in the search of journalist Bryan Carmody’s house last May is innocent. Every new piece of information shows the San Francisco police officers — as well as any supervisors signing off on their paperwork — knew raiding a journalist’s home to find the source of a leaked autopsy report was going to treat the First Amendment and the state’s journalist shield law as a doormat.
The leak originated in the police department, which is where the SFPD should have begun and ended its investigation. Instead, officers misled a judge to get search warrants approved to search Carmody’s home and the contents of seized electronics. A few months later, all five warrants were being tossed by the five judges the cops lied to, who pointed out the SFPD had purposely withheld information that would have identified the warrants’ target as a journalist.
This led to a settlement being paid to Carmody nearly a year after the raid of his home. The city agreed taxpayers should give Bryan Carmody $369,000 for the violation of his rights and lawful protections by the city’s protectors and servants.
Three months later, more damaging news has surfaced, thanks to a public records request filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. It looks as though a cover-up was in place from the initiation of the bullshit investigation. It wasn’t enough to lie to judges. Officers were instructed to create no impartial record of the raid of Carmody’s home.
A San Francisco Police Department memo obtained by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reveals that police were instructed not to use body-worn cameras during last year’s high-profile raid of journalist Bryan Carmody’s home.
In the two-paragraph memo, which the Reporters Committee received through a public records request, Lieutenant Pilar Torres states that he told law enforcement officers conducting the raid “not to utilize our Department issued BWC’s for this operation” because the video footage could compromise the “confidential investigation.”
Whatever. Pretty much every investigation is a “confidential” investigation while it’s still underway. This wording means nothing. And video footage can be redacted if confidential sources might be revealed during idle pre-/post-raid chitchat. Keeping the cameras off allowed officers to carry out the search in a way that best benefited them, eliminating any chance of them being caught doing something they shouldn’t. (I mean beyond lying to judges, ignoring the state’s journalist shield law, walking all over the First Amendment…)
The SFPD refused to comment on this memo, again citing an ongoing investigation — this one targeting the SFPD officers involved in the unlawful raid of Carmody’s home. I imagine this investigation will continue for as long as it has to, ensuring SFPD reps don’t have to answer uncomfortable questions from journalists about their illegal abuse of other journalists.
And when everything has finally wrapped up and the lying officers safely returned to the streets, the report itself will vanish into the file cabinet in the basement until it is summoned by a public records lawsuit. That’s the way this will go, because every step of the way, the SFPD has refused to be honest about its decision to target a journalist — instead of its own officers — in order to hunt down a leak it knew was in-house.