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Leaked police report after Jeff Adachi’s death prompts hearing

A leaked police report surrounding the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi has led two city supervisors to call for a hearing on the Police Department’s policies and protocols for releasing information of a private citizen.

Fewer said at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting that she was outraged that someone had leaked information into the investigation of Adachi’s death to some media outlets.

Fewer said her questions about department’s policies extends beyond the investigation into Adachi’s death:

“We have seen an increasing practice of particular stations posting mugshots of arrestees on social media.”

Among the questions Fewer said she wanted answered from police officials include who has access to private and sensitive information, what are the departmental general orders governing the release of private information, what are the protocols in releasing information to the public and by whom, and how the department holds staff accountable for releasing information private information that should have not been released.

She added that the release of sensitive and private information can affect the public’s trust with police:

“This is an issue really about public trust and whether members of the public can trust that they and their loved ones are not being exposed to unwarranted invasion of privacy or confidential information whether as suspect, victim, or informant.”

Matt Gonzalez, chief attorney for the public defender’s office, is now running the office until Mayor London Breed makes an appointment. Gonzalez said Tuesday he was also troubled by the leaked information, but said he feels comfortable with Police Chief Bill Scott investigating the leak:

“I would be comfortable with that process happening within his department privately because I think he shares our interest ensuring this whole thing not happen.”

Gonzalez added:

“In a particular case like this, as I think we all know, you’re trying to balance the massive interest in information about the death of an elected official, but on the other hand you don’t necessarily have to just put out details that nobody wants to hear.”

All of the supervisors are co-sponsoring the hearing with the exception of Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

On Wednesday, Breed and Adachi’s family announced that the public is invited to a memorial service at City Hall at 11 a.m. next Monday. Breed said in a statement:

“On Monday, we will gather together to celebrate Jeff Adachi’s life, his work, and the lasting impact he will have on our City and our criminal justice system. I am honored to invite the people of San Francisco to come to City Hall to join us in recognizing and remembering Jeff, who fought hard in the community and in the courtroom, and who was a true public servant.”

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