Drug case dropped after video of San Francisco police surfaces 

Defense attorneys Wednesday unveiled another surveillance video that they say shows undercover police officers conducting an illegal search, this time in the Richmond District.

Private attorney Robert Amparan said at a news conference Wednesday at Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office that a judge had just thrown out his client’s felony marijuana possession for sale case because video evidence contradicted the officers’ testimony in court and statements on the police report.

Amparan said 23-year-old McLaren Wenzell did not consent to letting the officers inside his apartment at 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard on March 1. He said the officers did not immediately identify themselves as police and did not have a constitutional basis to search the apartment.

Wenzell said he had a medical marijuana card, but officers arrested him after finding about four pounds of pot inside the apartment, according to a police report.

“This was not a consensual search,” Amparan said. He argued that this case showed the San Francisco Police Department had a bigger problem than simply the allegations against the undercover Southern Station unit accused earlier this year of conducting illegal searches in the Tenderloin.

“I think it shows that there is an endemic problem, and that is department-wide,” Amparan said.

Adachi said that the officers in this case perjured themselves and needed to be held accountable.

Police Chief Jeff Godown said that he had reviewed the video and didn’t see any issue with it.

“I’m not going to overreact every time Jeff Adachi comes out with another video or press release,” Godown said.

Prosecutors said they are considering an appeal of the judge’s ruling.

“It is our assertion that the relevant evidence shows an interaction that corroborates the testimony provided,” the District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Examiner Staff Writer Dan Schreiber contributed to this story.


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