SAN FRANCISCO—A San Francisco Police Department memo reveals that police officers were instructed not to use body-worn cameras during the raid of journalist Bryan Carmody’s home last year.
In 2019, Carmody became known when he leaked an unreleased police report regarding the death of Jeff Adachi, the former San Francisco Public Defender.
On May 10, 2019 the SFPD raided Carmody’s home with a sledgehammer and pickax after he refused to reveal his source from the leak.
Authorities seized computers, cameras and phones from the home, before conducting a separate search of Carmody’s office.
According to the California Legislative Information, the raid was in direct violation of California’s Reporter’s shield law that prohibits a publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed by a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication, or by a press association or wire service, from being held in contempt for refusing to disclose the source of any information procured for publication while so connected or employed.
The law also prohibits any of those persons from being held in contempt for refusing to disclose any unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving, or processing information for communication to the public.
Back in March 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a $369,000 settlement for Carmody’s claim.
The memo was obtained by the The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Within the memo, it is stated that Lieutenant Pilar Torres instructed officers conducting the raid to “not utilize our Department issued BWC’s for this operation.”
The document goes on to state that, Captain William Braconi cited that this situation was a confidential investigation and BWC footage could compromise the investigation.