SFPD Raids Home of Journalist Who Shared Details of Public Defender’s Death
National scrutiny has befallen the San Francisco Police Department after the raid of a journalist’s home in connection with a leaking investigation involving late Public Defender Jeff Adachi.
A San Francisco journalist said Sunday authorities knocked down the gate of his home with a sledgehammer, handcuffed him for hours and seized thousands of dollars in electronics after he refused to identify a confidential source.
The journalist is Bryan Carmody. Police entered his home Friday seeking the identity of the person or persons who provided him with shocking information surrounding the February death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. This includes a medical examiner’s report showing traces of cocaine in Adachi’s system and photos of the apartment where his body was found.
As City News reported previously, public officials are livid over the leaks, which are believed to have come from inside the SFPD. Supervisors believe they’re payback for Adachi’s history of criticizing law enforcement.
But free speech advocates are now blasting the police response, as the department seeks to make good on its promise to root out the leaker or leakers. The raid “shows an alarming disregard for the right to gather and report on information,” said the Society of Professional Journalists’ NorCal chapter in a statement.
“California's Shield Law protects journalists from being held in contempt for refusing to disclose their sources' identities and other unpublished/unaired information obtained during the news gathering process," the group added. It said its Freedom of Information Committee is now looking into the matter.
The SFPD is defending its actions as a legitimate part of the probe into illegal sharing of confidential information and possible obstruction of justice. The search warrant was approved by a judge, police note.
Carmody says the officers confiscated information stretching back more than two and a half decades, but that he still has not revealed his source.