SFPD accused of racism, misconduct in TL drug sweeps
San Francisco police officers who took part in a two-year drug sting operation in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood have been accused of sexually and physically harassing and threatening suspects and using racial slurs, according to recent court documents.
Federal defense attorneys named several San Francisco police officers accused of disturbing and biased behavior while on the job in a motion to compel discovery filed last week on behalf of defendants charged with drug-trafficking crimes resulting from Operation Safe Schools.
The sting operation, conducted jointly with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, arrested only black suspects. Federal defense attorneys in April filed a motion alleging that the defendants were targeted because of their race and asking that all 37 cases should be heard together.
Court documents state that evidence of racial bias in the sting includes video footage taken by law enforcement of one sweep that shows an undercover officer refusing to buy drugs from an Asian woman as he waits to buy drugs from a black woman who is busy on a phone call.
Defendants also recounted numerous officers using racial slurs in the Tenderloin, including referring to black women as “black bitches” and referring to black men as the n-word, according to court documents.
The court documents identify a number of officers, but single out San Francisco police Sgt. Shaughn Ryan as “a particular problem.” Among the accusations against Ryan, who has worked with the department for roughly 20 years, were offensive language, such as “I just got married and you better be glad … or I’ll take some black p****,” which he apparently said after arresting a woman.
Ryan also allegedly told another woman while she was being arrested, “You should be doing something else with that body, you could be making that money doing something else other than selling drugs.” Defendants said Ryan was heard implying that he had a large penis and apparently had told women whom he arrested that he liked large breasts, according to court documents.
Ryan has also been accused of talking to a woman and then pointing to another woman while saying, “Do you see the girl back there? If you suck dick like her then you’ll get out of trouble too.” To another woman, Ryan apparently asked, “When are you going to suck my dick?” Ryan is also accused of physically searching female suspects, and in one instance, removing a bag of drugs from a woman’s vagina.
Other officers, some only identified in court documents by their last names, are also accused of sexually harassing women during the drug sweeps.
Officer Crosby apparently told a woman, “I want to handcuff you to a bed and f*** you,” according to court documents.
Officer Goff is accused of groping at least one woman during a probation search.
Other officers were described as acting violently against black individuals in the Tenderloin.
Officer Hope is accused of being rough on a pregnant woman.
Sgt. Darren Nocetti is accused of placing a man in a chokehold until “blood vessels in his eyes appeared to pop,” court documents state.
Sgt. Ryan and Officer Razz are accused of hitting a black woman who was attempting to avoid arrest with their car, according to court documents.
Ryan is accused of saying, “I’m going to kill you mother f****r and shoot you in your head” after arresting a suspect.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the defendants arrested in Operation Safe Schools are each charged with the distribution of prohibited drugs on or within 1,000 feet of a school or playground and are charged with distributing various controlled substances, such as crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and oxycodone.
The defendants are facing federal charges, meaning that if found guilty they face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail with at least six years of supervised release.
Efforts to reach police late Friday for comment were unsuccessful.