Police Chief Jeff Godown held a press conference Thursday to “push back” against Public Defender Jeff Adachi over dozens of dropped drug cases where surveillance video is the onus for dismissal.
Godown said he saw nothing wrong in video associated with the latest case, involving the seizure of four pounds of marijuana from a Richmond district apartment. Because of an ongoing FBI investigation into previous dropped cases, the chief wouldn’t comment on the earlier slate of dismissals, the vast majority of which originated with a plainclothes unit making arrests in The City’s single-resident occupancy hotels.
In the batch of SRO cases, the Southern Station plainclothes unit was put on desk duty. On the other hand, while an administrative review is being conducted in the Richmond case, Godown said it will be “business as usual” at that station.
Godown said Adachi has painted the police department with a wide brush and despite wider use of video in apartments and by the general public, police will continue standard protocol.
“They understand everyone has an iPhone, or has a video camera and can be taped,” Godown said.
The Richmond arrest at an apartment near 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard, hinged on whether police clearly displayed badges upon contacting the resident, notified him of rights and got permission to enter and search the residence. Defense attorneys argued that the video proves police testimony in the case was false.
Godown said badges were visible in the video when officers walked down the hall, closer to the camera.
“The video tape is not always the story,” Godown said, adding that he has no issue with video being used as evidence in general. “And there will be more videos.”