SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco's chief of police apologized on Friday for searching the home and office of a freelance journalist to find out who published a police report on the unexpected death of the city's former defender would have.
Chief William Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday that the searches were probably illegal and said, "I'm sorry this happened."
The California Shield Act protects journalists from search warrants, and the colonel The US Court of Justice has ruled that journalists can report information about messages contained in stolen documents.
Because the arrest warrants are sealed, it is not known what information the police provided to aid the searches or how much it has revealed that Bryan Carmody is a journalist.
Scott said he had reviewed all material related to the searches and was concerned that the original arrest warrants did not adequately identify Carmody as a journalist.
"The description of what his role as a journalist is – there should have been more clarity," Scott said. "This is going to be a problem that needs further investigation."
Carmody was handcuffed for six hours on May 10 while a sledgehammer-armed police searched for evidence to find out who was presenting a confidential police report on the man's death. Jeff Adachi, a late public defender, after he died refused to divulge his source.
The case was an alarming advocate of journalism and put pressure on elected leaders in the politically liberal city to defend the press.
Scott initially defended the raid and told this The city police commission of its department went through the appropriate legal procedure.
On Tuesday, Scott said Carmody "crossed the line" and suspected that the journalist had participated in a criminal conspiracy to steal an internal police report motivated by profit or hostility towards Adachi
Carmody said he does not pay for the report or conspiracy to steal him, but simply acquires it as part of his journalistic work.
Mayor London Breed had requested the Indepe to investigate the way in which the police conducted the leak and internal affairs investigation, which could lead to disciplinary action by officials.
Scott said the department will not use evidence seized during the raids.
Reporters and other First Amendment Organizations want a judge to revoke search warrants approving the raids and unseal the documents submitted for support.
"We are encouraged by the boss's apology, but we believe there must be real reform here," said Carmody's lawyer, Ben Berkowitz said. "The city needs to take steps to make sure journalists do not do that again."