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Video Site: The Attorney Depot™
"They rape, ... They rape a 100 white women a day, ... that's FBI statistic from 2005."
-- Dylann Roof, explaining to FBI Agents why he entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 17, 2015 and killed nine members of the black congregation attending a Bible study inside.
Top News Story! SFPD Model!
July 25, 2011
A San Francisco police officer who was taken off field duty four years ago after a flurry of complaints and brutality lawsuits that have cost the city more than $400,000 has been fired over charges of abusive conduct stemming from a 2007 incident. Jesse Serna, 45, who was on the force for 16 years, was put on desk duty in 2007 by then-Police Chief Heather Fong after a string of incidents involving use of force, including one in 2006 that led to a $385,000 civil settlement.
Chief Greg Suhr declined to comment on Serna's July 13 dismissal by the Police Commission, saying he could not talk about a confidential personnel matter. Serna could not be reached for comment. A media analysis of records from 1996 to 2004 showed that Serna accounted for more use of force incidents than any other San Francisco officer. He has been named in seven lawsuits, and the allegations that triggered his ouster stem from a Feb. 24, 2007, incident involving two couples whose suits are still pending.
His lawyer said the incident occurred while Serna was seeking an attempted murder suspect, with the officer making "some spur-of-the-moment decisions in a really stressful situation." Brass described his client as a decorated and "gutsy cop" and said that excessive force charges were not upheld. Police reports indicate the incident began when Serna and a partner were on the Embarcadero, arresting a man who had been involved in a fight with a motorist. In his police report, Serna said he got a handcuff onto the left hand of Jamal Jackson, then 18, of San Francisco, but the suspect pulled his right hand away. Serna reported that he punched Jackson in the back, fearing the man may have been reaching for a weapon. Jackson called out, asking if anyone had seen what Serna did. Shawn Myers, who was waiting for his car at a nearby parking lot with his wife, Sarah, responded that he had. Myers' wife wrote in a statement that day that Serna came over and told her husband to put his hands behind his back. As her husband was forced to the ground, Sarah Myers said, "I stood there asking why were they doing this," and at that point, "I was pepper-sprayed in the face by Officer Serna."
In his report, Serna said Myers had approached in an aggressive posture with his hands in his jacket pockets, telling Serna, "F- you, shoot me, mother-." Serna reported that he had to pepper-spray Sarah Myers after she had "run toward us with her arms out as if she were going to push us or possibly attempt to free Myers."
The couple's lawsuit said Serna disparaged Shawn Myers, who is African American, after placing him in a police van, calling him a "monkey." Myers also quoted Serna as saying: "That sure is an ugly white bitch you're married to." Attorney John Burris, whose office handled four of the suits against Serna, said his dismissal was overdue. He said two of the suits settled for a total of $55,000, while the city won one of the suits and another ended in dismissal after a hung jury.
"I think the system worked too slowly to remove him," Burris said. "He lied in all these cases to justify his conduct. He was probably the most consistently vicious officer I have dealt with. He did not use any level of verbal skill. If a person raised any question, he was going to be physically assaulted."
The largest civil settlement involving Serna's alleged conduct was paid to Mehrdad Alemozaffar, who sued after he was allegedly roughed up, told to "stop acting like such a girl" and zapped with a stun gun during a 2006 North Beach sweep. Alemozaffar, who was then 26 and preparing for a medical residency at Harvard, accused Serna of tackling him to the ground near Broadway and Montgomery Street, after officers sought to get Alemozaffar and two friends to leave the area and pushed them in the back.
Charles Blair Hill
July 27, 2011
The BART police officer who fatally shot a knife-wielding transient in San Francisco earlier this month was working one of his last shifts before a planned move to the FBI, but the job change is on hold during the shooting probe. The officer, identified by sources Tuesday as James Crowell, rescinded his resignation from BART and has been cleared to return to duty. But his plan to become an FBI agent raises the stakes of investigations about the July 3 shooting at Civic Center Station that are being conducted by BART and San Francisco police.
Crowell's attorney said Tuesday that his client would still join the FBI after he is cleared of wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for the agency did not return a call seeking comment. Crowell was hired early last year from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, records show. He shot Charles Blair Hill, 45, after Hill advanced on him and a partner with a knife with a 4-inch blade and then wound up to throw the weapon, BART said.
BART officials released footage from a platform camera last week that shows Crowell and his partner arriving on a train in response to a report of a drunken man with an open bottle. The video does not show Hill, who is out of view. BART officials said Hill first threw his bottle, and that a second officer - identified by sources as six-year veteran Myron Lee - slipped on liquid from it.
Fourteen seconds after arriving, Crowell backed away and drew his pistol, the footage shows. At this point, officials said, Lee was on the ground.
Another three seconds elapsed, with Crowell saying something, but BART's cameras do not capture audio. BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said the officer was ordering Hill to drop the knife. The video shows what appears to be the firing of the gun and, an instant later, an object appearing in view. The object - which Rainey said was the knife - hit the train car and ricocheted back.
Some police watchdogs have questioned whether Hill posed a grave threat to the officer, and have wondered why Crowell didn't use his Taser to subdue Hill. Crowell's attorney said he expected officers to be scrutinized when they use deadly force. But he said "antipolice agitators" who have protested the shooting, and another fatal police shooting in San Francisco, have "revealed their true colors. ... They want cops shot or stabbed before they are allowed to use force."
July 22, 2011
The following video demonstrates a callous, vicious disregard for human life. Charles Hill, 45, was killed in the incident on the platform at the Civic Center station, but he is not shown in the video, as it shows only part of the platform. At the time he was shot and killed, Mr. Hill no longer posed a threat to officers or train passengers.
July 7, 2011
B.A.R.T. PD Again!
(BART police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig, pictured left, gives BART PD version of shooting events.) SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Surveillance camera footage gives a "partial view" of an incident in which a BART police officer shot a knife-wielding man in San Francisco, but does not show his actions at the moment the shots were fired, BART officials said Tuesday. "It will be a strong tool in the investigation," said BART police Deputy Chief Daniel Hartwig, who said he had not seen the footage himself and could not discuss it in detail.
BART, San Francisco police and the San Francisco district attorney are investigating the Sunday night shooting on the platform of the Civic Center Station. The man who was shot has been identified, but his name was not released Tuesday because the San Francisco medical examiner was unable to reach his relatives.
According to the transit agency, two officers responded to a report of a man in a tie-dye T-shirt and military-style fatigue pants with an open bottle of alcohol at 9:34 p.m. Sunday. Within one minute of arriving, Hartwig said, one of the officers fired after he was "confronted by an aggressive suspect who was holding a bottle and a knife." Hartwig said he did not know whether the officer - who gave a statement to investigators soon after the shooting - reported fearing for his own life or the life of a BART patron. One of the two officers suffered a minor cut to his arm in the incident, officials said. Three shell casings were recovered from the officer's pistol. An attorney representing the two officers, said Tuesday that the man who was shot had first thrown the liquor bottle at the officers. "It's my understanding that he then advanced on them with a knife, which was recovered, and that he looked like he was winding up to throw the knife at them," Stern said. BART did not identify the two officers, one a six-year veteran of the force and the other a BART officer for a little more than a year. Both have been placed on routine administrative leave. The incident marked the sixth time a BART officer has shot a person in the 40 years since the agency formed a police force. The most widely known of those shootings - the killing of unarmed train rider Oscar Grant at an Oakland station on Jan. 1, 2009 - was missed by the agency's surveillance cameras, which were pointed in other directions, but was filmed by passengers.
July 5, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Officials have identified the man shot and killed by a BART police officer Sunday night but withheld his name Tuesday because they had not reached his family, according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office. Two officers responded to reports of a drunken man with an open bottle of alcohol at the Civic Center station platform about 10 p.m. Sunday and within a minute of arriving on the scene, they called in to say that one of them had shot the man, BART police Chief Kenton Rainey said. The officers said the man had used the bottle as a weapon and was also armed with a knife, attacking them. One of the officers took a minor cut to his arm but was not hospitalized, Rainey said. The man was taken to a hospital and died an hour later. San Francisco police are handling the criminal investigation into the shooting while the San Francisco District Attorney's Office along with BART police and administrators perform independent investigations. This was the sixth on-duty officer-involved shooting involving injury or death in BART's 40-year history.
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