DA gets go-ahead to pursue wheelchair shooting case 

A Superior Court judge Friday denied an attempt to bar the District Attorney’s Office from prosecuting a case against a man who was shot by San Francisco police in January while in his wheelchair.

An attorney for Randal Dunklin argued that the assault suspect could not receive a fair trial because District Attorney George Gascón, who was chief of police at the time of the shooting, said shortly after the Jan. 4 incident that it was a justified use of force.

Police officers were originally responding to a report of a “highly agitated” man stabbing parking meters and slashing tires at 10th and Howard streets near a Department of Health Clinic in the South of Market neighborhood.

Two officers later fired shots at Dunklin, 55, who suffered non-life- threatening injuries to his groin, after he allegedly stabbed one of the officers.

Police originally reported Dunklin was standing when he was shot, but video of the incident that surfaced later showed he was in a wheelchair.

Friday’s ruling by Judge Bruce Chan was welcomed by the DA’s Office, which argued that recusal requires an “actual demonstrated” conflict and not just the perception of conflict.

“We have contended all along that there was no conflict here,” said Erica Derryck, a DA spokeswoman. “When the DA was chief of police, his comments were early on in the case. He said the video was only part of the story and an investigation needs to be completed.”

Dunklin has pleaded innocent to charges of assaulting a peace officer with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and misdemeanor vandalism. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for May 3.

Last month, private attorneys for Dunklin filed a lawsuit in federal court against The City over the shooting.


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Dan Schreiber

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