Friday, May 27, 2011 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — As prosecutors dismissed 26 felony cases Friday, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi revealed new misconduct evidence that has surfaced against embattled San Francisco undercover officers.
All 26 cases dropped Friday afternoon involve at least one of the half-dozen Mission Station officers currently under investigation for illegal searches, perjury and theft.
At a news conference, Adachi showed surveillance footage of an April 22, 2010 arrest that stood in sharp contrast to the sworn police report describing the incident.
In that case, police arrested 49-year-old Jesus Inastrilla in front of a Tenderloin bar for drug sales. In a sworn police report, Officer Peter Richardson wrote that officers Jacob Fegan, Ricardo Guerrero, Robert Sanchez, who were working undercover, arrested Inastrilla after Inastrilla spit a crack rock into his hand to sell it to Guerrero. However, the video shows no exchange between the two men. One of Inastrilla’s hands remains on his cell phone throughout the video, while his other hand is in his pocket.
Charges were dropped against Inastrilla May 7, 2010 after Guerrero claimed he could not find the alleged seized drugs in evidence, according to Inastrilla’s attorney, Erica Franklin. Franklin later lodged a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints on behalf of her client. The OCC also found that the video was inconsistent with the police report.
In a second case of possible misconduct revealed Friday, Mission District residents Javier and Mariette Tenorio produced a sworn declaration against Sgt. Kevin Healy, Sanchez, Guerrero, Fegan and Richardson, alleging police illegally searched their residence and left with their valuables.
Javier Tenorio said that on Aug. 19, 2010, Healy approached him in his local market and asked him if he had assaulted and robbed a person. Tonorio denied the accusation and was then asked if he had drugs on his person. Healy then searched Tonorio despite his protests, telling him he would be arrested if he didn’t comply with the search, Tonorio said. No drugs were found on Tenorio, who does not have a criminal history.
Healy then showed him a photograph of a man who Tenorio identified as his stepson, Harvey Salazar. Healy demanded Tenorio take him to his home for a search, assuring him he did not need a warrant, Tenorio said. Healy used Tenorio’s keys to open the door to the residence and pushed Mariette Tenorio against the wall when she protested, according to the sworn declaration. Healy then kicked open the door to a room where Salazar stored some of his things and began searching alongside Sanchez, Guerrero, Fegan and Richardson.
When police left, Mariette Tenorio noticed many items missing, including a camera, two brand new iPods, a cell phone, an electric shaver, a jar of quarters and a collection of baseball hats. None was booked into evidence or accounted for in the police report. The Tenorios have since filed a complaint with the Office of Citizen Complaints, which is pending.
Police conducted the search on the day Salazar’s probation out of San Mateo County expired. The San Francisco District Attorney did not file an arrest warrant stemming from the Aug. 19, 2010 search until Jan. 14, 2011 Salazar was not arrested until March 16, 2011 His case was among those dismissed Friday.
The incidents are the latest in a string of videos and reports revealing serious misconduct among undercover officers in the Southern and Mission stations. The incidents have sparked an FBI investigation. Adachi said he expects more cases to be dismissed.
“These officers made numerous arrests each day. Because it has become clear we cannot trust them to be honest, any arrest based on their credibility is suspect,” Adachi said.
The video of the April 22, 2010 incident is posted at youtube.com/sfpublicdefender