Eric Risberg / AP
San Francisco police chief Bill Scott apologized on Friday for a recent raid on a freelance journalist's home in connection with the unauthorized publication of a police report on the death of the city's former public defender.  The sudden death of 59-year-old Jeff Adachi in February, the subsequent loss of a police report, and a sledgehammer raid on May 10 have shaken local sensibility in a city that is proud of its reputation as a progressive haven for free Opinion and respect for the First Amendment.
Scott told The San Francisco Chronicle that searches of the apartment and office of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody were probably illegal and said, "I'm sorry it happened."
In In a statement released late Friday, Scott said he requested an independent criminal investigation of his department by outside bodies to determine the source of a leak over the death of Jeff Adachi. The former public defender had criticized the police. Scott said he was worried about his investigators' lack of care in obtaining search warrants and the possible violation of California law, which protects reporters from divulging their sources.
Scott reported Chronicle that requests for search warrants for Carmody's apartment did not adequately identify him as a journalist. Scott also said that the officers who issued the arrest warrant violated the department's policies by not contacting the prosecutor first. He used a sledgehammer at the entrance gate of his home and confiscated his computers, phones and other equipment. The police handcuffed Carmody and detained her for several hours. She interrogated him when he had a police report on Adachi's death.
Laurel Wamsley of NPR reported,
According to the San Francisco Chronicle information from a leaked police investigation of his death has already surfaced.
"A number of details in the police report were conspicuous, indicating that perhaps one or more members of the police force attempted to tarnish the reputation of Adachi, who was known as a police watchdog and a vehement supporter of criminal justice reform San Francisco is the defender's elected position.
"The city's regulators sharply criticized the police department for the inappropriate disclosure of the report. Adachi's widow called the release "despicable".
"The coroner later found that Adachi died as a result of accidental overdose of cocaine and alcohol."
The apology of Chief Scott is a reversal of that when he suggested two days ago that Carmody was a criminal Conspiracy had been involved to obtain the police report. Last week he had defended the robbery.
The San Francisco controversy sparked a firestorm over the first change and protection of press freedom.