A Federal probe of the San Francisco Police Department has been open since 2011, regarding illegal searches and misconduct that occurred in 2010 and 2011. Of particular concern were allegedly illegal searches unearthed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, occurring in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.
Then Interim Chief of Police, Jeff Godowin stated at that time, “We’re going to audit the entire plainclothes operation. We’ve identified we have a problem. It’s my responsibility to move forward.” Little has been heard since it was reported that a federal grand jury had convened early 2012. As of October 2012, California Watch reports the investigation is ongoing.
While the investigation has been out of the news, not mean that it is not being pursued. An investigation of a different vice squad across the Bay, in Contra Costa County, spanned years. The first incidents in that scandal occurred in 2007, but arrests were still being made near the end of 2012.
Another case has trickled in, Tom Dunham goes into great detail on his website about a number of facts that make it appear that there was disinformation fed by his former employer to police, and that the timing of incidents at his apartment was not merely coincidence. He claims to have discovered motive, and lists a number of missteps by SelectQuote since 2010, which tend to support his version of how they may have been involved with police misconduct that year. “I hope witnesses to this or other police misconduct in South of Market are convinced to come forward as they hear others’ stories,” says Mr. Dunham, “Any evidence you have might shake something loose in another case, or vice versa.”
Regardless of the disposition of any single case, some changes have already occurred due to the alleged misconduct in searches of South of Market residential hotels. Last July, Chief of Police Greg Suhr issued a memo instructing officers not to use ‘master keys’ except as allowed by law. The Wall Street Journal reported that the San Francisco Police Department was reducing enforcement of drug crimes, and had shifted focus to violent crime.