San Francisco Police defend raiding journalist Bryan Carmody's property over leaks

/ CBS News

San Francisco police chief William Scott looks on during a press conference at San Francisco police headquarters on April 6, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Getty

The San Francisco police chief has defended his department's decision to raid a freelance journalist's home and office looking for information about leaked police reports. Chief William Scott told CBS San Francisco – KPIX-TV on Wednesday that he was confident the search warrant issued to look around Bryan Carmody's property was legal and in compliance with the Shield Law, which protects journalists from revealing sources to law enforcement agencies.

KPIX reported the police raid on Carmody's property was meant to find evidence of how the journalist obtained leaked documents — apparently from someone in the San Francisco Police department. The documents revealed information about the cause of death of Bay Area Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who died in February.

Carmody reportedly sold the information to three Bay Area television stations.

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement this week that, "as part of the investigation, the (police) department went through the appropriate legal process to request a search warrant, which was approved by two judges. I believe that someone within the (police) department needs to be held accountable for the release of this information."

San Francisco Police Commissioner John Hamasaki told KPIX the leak was an "appalling" attack on Adachi and his family.

Jeff Adachi
In this photo from June 9, 2009, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi is photographed at his office in San Francisco. AP

Chief Scott said the search warrant was filed after city leaders demanded an investigation into the leak.

"This leak was a breach of the public's trust and we understand that and we're investigating these allegations fully, including allegations of misconduct potentially by members of the San Francisco Police Department," Scott said, adding that any member of the police force found to be involved would be held responsible.

Details about the warrant and the information police obtained through the searches were still sealed as of Thursday morning.

Carmody, meanwhile, has vowed on Twitter to protect his sources.

Fellow journalists and friends of Carmody have launched a GoFundMe page, hoping to raise enough money for the journalist to replace items police confiscated in the raid.

First published on May 16, 2019 / 6:35 AM

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