Jeff Adachi is not so much a man as he is an experience in energy. He’s extremely passionate about the cause of social justice, and has formed this passion into an organized group called the San Francisco Public Defenders Office.
Now, given that my friend just suddenly and shockingly passed away, you may wonder why I’m referring to him as if he’s still alive. The simple reason is that I find myself looking at all of the interviews we’ve done, and so for me, Jeff Adachi is still alive.
Thus, I’m sharing with you the two hours of video I have of Jeff Adachi leading a press conference, talking about San Francisco Police Brutality, taking questions from the SF Bay Area Press, talking with me in his office, and talking with me on video even though we’re 3,000 miles apart, and it’s on Zennie62 on YouTube, and not a major network. The way I came to know Jeff was the 2011 SF Police Misconduct Case.
The 2011 San Francisco Police Misconduct Case
The sad behavior of the San Francisco Police Department is best expressed via this excerpt from the press release from Jeff’s Office:
VIDEO REVEALS SECOND APPARENT THEFT BY OFFICER
San Francisco, CA – A San Francisco police officer accused of stealing items from a man’s residential hotel room following a drug arrest has been captured on video in a second incident, appearing to leave a residence at the Julian Hotel with property never booked into evidence.
The video, released today by San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, comes less than a week after Adachi released surveillance footage documenting a similar incident on Dec. 30 at the Jefferson Hotel.
The new footage stems from a Feb. 25, 2011 illegal search and drug arrest by Mission Station officers Ricardo Guerrero, Reynaldo Vargas, Jacob Fegan, Christopher Servat and Adam Kujath. Guerrero, Vargas and Fegan were also involved in the Jefferson Hotel incident.
In the most recent video, officers can be seen walking into the building empty – handed. However, Guerrero is later seen leaving with property that appears to be consistent with a laptop inside a bag, which was confirmed missing from the room later that day along with a camera. Vargas is carrying a second bag containing unknown items. Neither bag was booked into evidence.
Officers arrested resident Jesus “Jessie” Reyes, 64, for possession for sale of methamphetamine. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Reyes May 4th after Guerrero failed to show up to testify despite a subpoena. Reyes had never before been arrested, said his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Cindy Elias.
Adachi called the conduct “outrageous.”
“This incident, coupled with similar footage at the Henry, Royan and Jefferson hotels, indicates there are groups of officers engaging in systematic misconduct,” he said.
In the police report, written by Fegan, police claim Reyes matched a description provided by a confidential informant and stopped him as he sat in his minivan. Fegan wrote that Reyes agreed to let police search his van and then offered to let them search his room.
In Reyes’ sworn declaration, however, he states that at no time did police ask his permission to search the van and that he never consented to any search. Police did not respond when Reyes asked if they had an arrest warrant, he said. According to Reyes, officers searched his person, took his keys and searched his room while he waited outside the room with Fegan. Reyes specifically told police not to search his room and asked if they had a search warrant, but was ignored, he said. After being booked into jail, Reyes’ reading glasses were taken from him and he was asked to sign a form that he believed was to return his personal property. He did not learn he had signed a search consent form until he went to court.
When Reyes was released from jail, his wife – the only other person with keys to the room – informed him that their nephew’s laptop computer was missing. A Sony Cybershot 12 – megapixel camera was also missing.
Here’s the initial press conference Jeff Adachi held on the scandal where Jeff says “As far as I can tell, there’s no justification for that bag being taken out of that room by that police officer”.
Also, then, we hear from Matt Gonzalez, former San Francisco Board of Supervisors Member, and then and still Chief Attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, now its head in the wake of Adachi’s death, and Public Defender Qiana Washington, who handled the case:
Afterward, I sat down with Jeff for a talk that case that KQED’s Peter John Schuler called “a good opportunity to learn what the scandal is all about, from the Public Defender’s point of view, of course.”
Jeff Adachi On The NYPD Murder Of Eric Garner
There are a number of high profile cases involving police unlawful treatment of African Americans that Jeff Adachi’s office has taken on. For example, there’s the matter of San Francisco Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Neu, who was accused of forcing two inmates to fight at the county jail on the seventh floor of 850 Bryant Street, twice. “These revelations are sickening,” Adachi said. “Deputy Neu forced these young men to participate in gladiator-style fights for his own sadistic entertainment.”
Then, there was Eric Garner and the New York Police Department Chokehold Scandal. While not a San Francisco case-issue directly, the news was such that Adachi wanted to weigh in on racial disparities in the criminal justice system, and how the criminal justice system could come away without an indictment against the NYPD officer.
What follows is what one Zennie62 on YouTube viewer, Malik McClain, recently said was a “Very compelling interview with Mr.Adachi. Just as the standard of seating a jury of the defendants peers, which doesn’t always happen, the make-up of the Grand Jury has to change. I would like to know how the Grand Jury is selected and put into service in these various jurisdictions. When the evidence they are considering is so overwhelming and they still don’t manage to return an indictment, the bias and prejudice is painfully obvious. The selection process begs to be overhauled now.”
I would have liked to have more time to do more interviews, but it seemed as if after personal matters involving my parents came about (my father and stepfather’s passing) my life change made me less available. That’s why I started and have worked to build Zennie62Media – so others can be involved in the vlog way of news reporting and storytelling.
Jeff Adachi, RIP.