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DA declines officer charges in two police shooting incidents

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Thursday his office won’t file charges against three San Francisco Police Department officers involved in two separate shootings earlier this year.

The first case involves the Oct. 11, 2020 fatal shooting of 21-year-old Cesar Vargas at the hands of officers Kyle Roach and Nicholas Delgado.

In that case, Roach and Delgado responded to the scene after several witnesses reported seeing Vargas break into several cars near Market and Valencia streets, in addition to carjacking a woman at knifepoint. When the officers caught up with Vargas, Vargas charged at them with a knife, prompting the shooting, police said.

After the District Attorney’s Office’s Internal Investigations Bureau conducted an investigation that included interviews with officers and witnesses, written reports, and surveillance and body-worn camera footage, prosecutors determined both Delgado and Roach didn’t act unlawfully, according to Boudin’s office.

In the second case, the District Attorney’s Office will not file charges against an officer involved in an April 21, 2020 shooting.

In that shooting, Officer Jordan Townsend fired at an assault suspect when the suspect charged at him with a screwdriver, following a standoff and pursuit through the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, police said.

The shots, however, didn’t strike the suspect. The suspect has since been charged with assault and is currently in a residential treatment program, Boudin’s office said.

The decision in this case, again, involved interviewing witnesses, reviewing written reports and camera footage.

Boudin said in a statement:

“My office is committed to holding police accountable when they commit crime as well as to notifying officers who are investigated — and the community at large — as soon as possible when an investigation is complete.”

The DA continued:

“My office carefully reviews the specific facts in each case involving officers use-of-force so we can determine when charges are warranted as well as when officers acting under stressful situations behaved lawfully. In these two incidents the evidence showed that the officers’ use of force was lawful self-defense.”

The two latest decisions come just as Boudin recently announced charges against two SFPD officers involved in separate shootings.

Last month Boudin’s office filed manslaughter charges against former Police Officer Christopher Samoyoa, who fatally shot unarmed Keita O’Neal, 42, in the city’s Bayview District in 2017 — marking the first in the city’s history an on-duty officer has been charged with such a crime.

Then, earlier this week, Boudin announced a grand jury indicted Officer Christopher Flores in connection with a 2019 Mission District officer-involved shooting that left a man in critical condition.

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