Well this is going to get messy.
A public defender who was often described as an enemy of law enforcement died. The report was leaked. Police came under attack. And now a journalist’s home has been raided while the cleanup continues.
On Friday, San Francisco police raided the home of a freelance journalist. This, after he provided three Bay Area television stations with a copy of a police report into the death of Public Defender Jeff Adachi, according to both the journalist and police officials.
Bryan Carmody is a freelance videographer, also known as a stringer. He told The Chronicle that San Francisco police executed a search warrant at his Outer Richmond District home and Western Addition office. He says they took his computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
“I don’t think it was right to break my door down,” he said in an interview. “I’m one of the original independent media companies in San Francisco. This is outrageous.”
The Police Department has come under attack by city officials after the report showed up on television newscasts and in print only hours after 59-year-old Adachi died. He collapsed at a Telegraph Hill apartment with a mysterious woman on Feb. 22. It was later determined alcohol and cocaine may have played a role in his death.
The Police Department said it immediately opened an internal investigation to figure out how the report was leaked.
Carmody says he’s has worked for nearly 30 years in the Bay Area. He shoots video footage and sells it to local and national news organizations.
Carmody claims he got the report from a source and sold it for a standard fee to three television news stations – although he wouldn’t say which stations paid him for the report.
He says that as a freelancer, that’s how he makes his living.
The Chronicle said it also got a copy of the report, but it didn’t come from Carmody and they didn’t pay for it.
“The search warrant executed today was granted by a judge and conducted as part of a criminal investigation into the leak of the Adachi police report,” said David Stevenson, a police spokesman.
He said “actions are one step in the process of investigating a potential case of obstruction of justice along with the illegal distribution of a confidential police report.”
According to Carmody, two inspectors with the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau “politely asked” for his source on the Adachi report two weeks ago. He didn’t reveal the person’s name. He said that around 8:30 a.m., he woke up to a banging sound on the outer gate of his home.
He claims that when he got out there, some 10 officers were trying to break down the gate with a sledgehammer. He then says he willingly opened the gate and that’s when they cuffed him and rushed into his home.
When investigators later learned he had an office in the Western Addition, they obtained a second search warrant there.
He claims that during this whole thing, two men who identified themselves as FBI agents tried to interview him but he didn’t talk to them and demanded a lawyer.
Carmody said he was released at 3 p.m., and immediately contacted The Chronicle after purchasing another cell phone.
In April, San Francisco supervisors called a special hearing over the investigation. During it, they attacked the department over the release of the report related to Adachi’s death.
Some city officials claim the release of the report was politically motivated, as Adachi was a major figure in criminal justice reform and also described as “a police watchdog and fierce foe of law enforcement”.