FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office | PubDef-MediaRelations@sfgov.org
SF Public Defender Says Police Escalated a Biased Stop to Shootout on City Street
SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the San Francisco Police Department held a virtual town hall about an incident in which four police officers fired shots at Jose Corvera on the residential 300 block of Shotwell Street in the Mission District on the morning of Saturday, August 6, 2022. Mr. Corvera is now in jail and facing several charges, including resisting arrest and brandishing an imitation gun. Deputy Public Defender Alexa Horner, who is representing Mr. Corvera, is issuing the following statement in response to the SFPD shooting and the town hall:
“This unnecessary police stop instigated and escalated a situation which endangered the public, Mr. Corvera, and members of the SFPD.
The officers who stopped Mr. Corvera did not observe him committing any crime, and during today’s police town hall, representatives of the SFPD only gave vague explanations for the stop without providing any evidence of an alleged crime. This appears to be an example of police relying on their own bias to initiate a stop of a man who was riding a bicycle and pushing another. Notably, Mr. Corvera is not being charged with any theft.
Mr. Corvera is Latino, Limited English Proficient, and suffers from mental health challenges. A police interaction can be frightening precisely because an unnecessary stop of a person with mental health challenges and language needs can quickly escalate. When an officer exited a police car, Mr. Corvera tried to walk away. He then hid behind a parked car while holding onto a prop gun he carries for protection. It remains unclear whether he fired any of the blank rounds before police responded with gunshots.
What ensued was a disorganized scene in which numerous officers were called to surround the block, including a large police tactical vehicle. At one point, shots can be heard in the body worn camera footage followed by officers questioning who fired the shots. At least four officers discharged their firearms before Mr. Corvera threw his prop gun into the street, where it went off on its own.
Thankfully, Mr. Corvera came away with his life. However, he remains traumatized, detained, and is unfairly facing charges. Too often prosecutors and judges use mental health conditions to justify jailing people even when they pose no threat to themselves or others and may otherwise benefit from medical support, housing, and other necessary services. We ask for his immediate release as the victim of a biased police stop and officer involved shooting by SFPD.”