*This press released was updated on 12/21/23 at 2:30pm.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: PDR-MediaRelations@sfgov.org
Charges Dropped Against Man Shot Five Times by Police After Prosecutors Determine They Cannot Prove Their Case
SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, the District Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges against Richard Everett, who was shot multiple times by police on Aug. 28. Prosecutors dismissed the case, citing the absence of a material witness after one of the responding police officers refused to testify about the lethal violence used by police that night. The dismissal comes two days after opening statements and initial evidence was presented in Everett’s trial.
Deputy Public Defenders Nuha Abusamra and Anthony Gedeon represented Everett, who was exhibiting signs of a mental health crisis on Aug. 28, did not injure anyone, and was not told he was under arrest before police shot him for trying to walk away. The District Attorney’s Office subsequently charged Everett with resisting arrest, threatening an officer, and carrying a knife. The DA’s office also asked a judge to keep the jury from hearing evidence about the fact that police shot Everett, but the judge did not grant that request.
“Today’s dismissal illustrates why Mr. Everett should have never been charged and incarcerated since August of 2023,” said Abusamra. “The dismissal today is the right result, but we should question why it took so long to get here.”
On Aug. 28, members of the San Francisco Police Department shot Richard Everett, 54, after being dispatched to the scene regarding a man with a knife in the Tenderloin neighborhood. Everett was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and placed under arrest. He has been jailed since August, with intermittent hospital visits to attend to the severe injuries he suffered from the five gunshot wounds he sustained, including to his lung and right hand.
After the SFPD held a town hall several days after the shooting and released footage from officers’ body-worn cameras, Abusamra commented: “The footage of the police shooting Mr. Everett is gruesome. When the police closed off the 300 block of Jones Street and surrounded Mr. Everett, they were not in danger. Police spent roughly 15 minutes giving him conflicting commands, both asking him to drop the knife and then telling him he could keep it. When Mr. Everett tried to slowly walk away while holding a milk crate in one hand and his duffel bag in the other, police opened fire with both less-lethal and lethal rounds in quick succession. That is not de-escalation. That is an attempt to execute him.”
“We’ve seen time and again that police too often resort to violence when interacting with vulnerable individuals like Mr. Everett. This is why San Francisco needs alternatives to policing to better attend to community safety,” said Brian Cox, Director of the Public Defender’s Office Integrity Unit.