Wednesday, May 10, 2017 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco— Criminal charges against an unarmed man shot on the steps of his home by San Francisco police officers investigating a noise complaint were dropped today, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced.
The dismissal by prosecutors is the latest step in the legal journey of 43-year-old Sean Moore, a mentally ill man who was seriously wounded Jan. 6 after officers shot him in the groin and abdomen during a confrontation. Moore underwent multiple surgeries and was charged with numerous felonies alleging he attacked the officers.
On April 25, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross threw out eight of the 10 counts, noting he was dismissing the charges because the two rookie officers, Kenneth Cha and Colin Patino, were acting outside the scope of their duties when they remained on Moore’s property after Moore declined to be questioned. Cha fatally shot a different man earlier this month.
Moore was released on his own recognizance May 4 in light of Ross’ ruling. He faced a single felony count, battery with serious bodily injury, for allegedly punching one of the officers after the officer hit him twice with a baton. He also faced a misdemeanor charge for allegedly violating a restraining order by banging on a wall.
Today’s dismissal comes one day after a California appeals court denied the San Francisco District Attorney’s writ—a request for extraordinary review—of Ross’ ruling. The appellate court also rejected prosecutors’ request to stay Moore’s trial, which was required to commence before May 22. Though the writ was denied, the District Attorney has filed an appeal of Ross’ ruling. If granted, prosecutors intend to refile charges against Moore.
Adachi said the District Attorney’s decision to appeal Ross’ ruling showed that prosecutors will go to great lengths to try to justify a police shooting of an unarmed citizen on the steps of his home.
“The District Attorney has gone to extraordinary lengths to justify an unlawful use of force by police. Unfortunately, the same level of advocacy is not extended to the victims of police violence,” Adachi said. “It calls into question whether the District Attorney’s Office is unbiased enough to fairly investigate officer involved shootings in San Francisco.”
Moore’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman, said he was pleased by the dismissal and expects the District Attorney’s appeal to be unsuccessful.
“The District Attorney is apparently willing to fight to the bitter end in order to prosecute an unarmed citizen shot by police, despite a judge finding that officers were violating his rights and trespassing on his property when they attacked him,” Pearlman said.