Will Cop Killing Be More Trouble for S.F. DA?

The killing of another San Francisco police officer early Wednesday morning was a tragedy sure to send the city’s entire police force into collective mourning. It also begs a question: Will another cop killing push District Attorney Kamala Harris into the midst of the same kind of controversy that erupted after Officer Isaac Espinoza was shot to death just a few months after Harris’ 2004 inauguration?

At that time, Harris was quick to confirm she would not seek death for defendant David Hill, a decision in step with the death penalty position she’d voiced on the campaign trail. After that, she spent weeks running the gauntlet, so to speak, as the local police union and Sen. Dianne Feinstein slammed her judgment and Attorney General Bill Lockyer toyed with the idea of stepping into the case.

It’s too early to tell yet how things will pan out after a van of suspects being chased by other cops crashed into Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco’s patrol car Wednesday. The head of the local cops’ union says he’s not even thinking of fighting over the death penalty this time around. But San Francisco Police Officers Association president Gary Delagnes, never a shrinking violet, is pointing the finger at the district attorney, the courts and the city’s criminal justice system as a whole.

Delagnes already claims to know about the identity and the long criminal history of one suspect, who he predicted would be formally charged tonight. Rattling off seven supposed arrests, including felonies, he fumed, “The best I can tell, [this person has] never been in jail. Of all these incidents the worst thing that’s happened to him is he was sentenced to six months in Walden House. … Now I have a dead policeman because this city won’t put anyone in prison.”

So does that mean no push for the death penalty this time around? Delagnes speculated the case would be eligible, but said he’s not going to waste his breath. “But of course, we don’t charge the death penalty in San Francisco, remember,” he said with what sounded like a sardonic laugh. If prosecutors didn’t do it for Espinoza’s shooting, he added, “they’re not going to do it” here.

Still, don’t count on silence from the POA. Delagnes said he plans to hold a news conference tomorrow. “I’m not fighting with Kamala Harris. I’m not fighting with the judges,” he said. “I’m just saying this system is ridiculous.”

A spokeswoman for Harris said her office was referring all calls on the case Wednesday to the police department, since the cops still have the case in their hands. The only official word out of her office was a statement expressing condolences to those mourning the officer’s death, calling it “a painful tragedy for our city and for all of us in law enforcement.”

The police department announced Wednesday that it had detained four suspects. But, because a spokeswoman said the department would not confirm any identities or criminal histories in the case, Legal Pad has decided not to print the name offered by Delagnes yet.

Pam Smith

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7 Responses to “Will Cop Killing Be More Trouble for S.F. DA?”

  1. dennis fitzsimons Says:

    How is it that Harris continues to face no serious questions from the press, legal or general circulation, regarding the policies Delagnes is questioning? Repeat offenders commit the majority of serious violent crime in San Francisco and when they do, the press is eager to ask our police chief about stopping the murder epidemic in the black community, or how she is going to raise the police departments case closure rate,. You know the police have little power to do anything about such problems without coordinated support from the mayor and D.A. At the same time, the press can’t find the backbone to ask the political princess Ms. Harris why that support isn’t forthcoming. Lets admit its easier to ride the inherent anti-cop bias in San Francisco to greater circulation and profits than to actually do some civically focused reporting and put ladder climbing politico’s like Harris to the test.

  2. ESIAH. 0 Says:

    KAMALA HARRIS IS THE MOST INEFFECTIVE DA IN THE HISTORY OF SAN FRANCISCO. SHE IS THE CAUSE OF THE MURDER EPIDEMIC BECASUE THE KILLERS KILL AT WILL AND SUFFER NO CONSEQUENCES. IF YOU CAN KILL AND GET AWAY WITH IT THEN WHY NOT KILL AGAIN. SHE SHOULD BE RECALLED. I REGRET EVER VOTING FOR HER. IT IS AS IF SHE IS SCARED OF THE CRIMIALS AND ROLLED OUT A WELCOME MAT FOR KILLERS. SHE HAS ALL BUT FORMALLY LEGALIZED MURDER IN SAN FRANCISCO AND HAS NO INTENTION OF PPROSECUTIONG ANY OF THE MURDERS IN SAN FRANCISCO. SHE IS USING THIS CITY AND BY THE TIME SHE LEAVES WE WILL HAVE SEEN THE MOST BLOODY PERIOD IN SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY. WE NEED A REAL DA SOMEONE WHO WILL STEP UP AND PROSECUTE MURDERS NOT MAKE EXCUSES AND ATTACK WITNESSES.

  3. Big V Says:

    Sure blame Kamala Harris! The system needs to be blame, overcrowding jails, busy courts, need stiffer sentence, Hell the city is one of the most Liberial courts system in the united states, Blame it on the System

  4. Big V Says:

    Sure blame Kamala Harris! The system needs to be blame, overcrowding jails, busy courts, need stiffer sentence, Hell the city is one of the most Liberial courts system in the united states, Blame it on the System, Speed up the death row inmates, sentence these criminals quickly, Blame it on the top ,yes the head joker of them all, the united states goverment, Kamala is doing her job, dealing withe the realistic outcome of the courts system in San Francisco

  5. D. FEINGOLD Says:

    BIG V: YOU HAVE NO CLUE. KAMALA IS A JOKE AND YOU HAVE NO ANSWER. WHEN YOUR RELATIVE IS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD AND YOU GET NOTHING BUT EXCUSES FROM THE DA, WHEN THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR AS DAY AND THE LAZY, OUT OF TOWN AND ABSENT PROSECUTOR
    DOES NOTHING THEN YOU HAVE STANDING TO SAY SOMETHING. SHE HAS THE DISCRETION TO PROSECUTE MORE THAN 25 MURDERS IN THE CITY WHERE THERE ARE EYE-WITNESSES AND SHE REFUSES. ASK YOURSELF WHY? SHE IS INCAPABLE. FORGET ABOUT THE SYTEM, SHE CAN TAKE ACTION NOW BUT SHE CHOOSES NOT TOO BECAUSE OF HER RAMEY WARRANT WAR WITH THE POLICE. WHAT ABOUT HER “MUST BE ARRESTED 3 TIMES DRUG OFFENDER POLICY”? ASK HER HOW MANY MURDER SUSPECTS WHERE THERE ARE EYE WITNESSES HAVE BEEN RELEASED. KAMALA HARRIS HAS LEGALIZED MURDER, GIVEN GUN OFFENDERS NUMEROUS BREAKS AND LEGALIZED DRUG SALES UNLESS YOU GET CAUGHT THREE TIMES. YOU SAY BLAME THE SYSTEM I SAY TAKE ACTION TO REMOVE HER FROM OFFICE. THE CITY IS SLOWLY BLEEDING TO DEATH FROM ALL THE VIOLENCE.

  6. Olivia C Says:

    Wow!!!! People willing to admit we have some major problems with the system. I do not live in San Francisco, but do live in California where one sees this happening all of the time. I have believed for a long time, the police have their hands tied with such a current existing liberal justice system.

  7. Char B Says:

    Finally someone has the balls to speak up against the far left wing politicians and judges who constantly side with the perpetrators instead of victims. its wonderful!!!!! Crowded jails and slow courts have nothing to do with their judgements. I truly believe they are anti-American, and it shows in their rulings. VOTE THEM OUT, PICKET THEIR HOMES, STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN. All judges, and I mean ALL judges names and records should be published in the newspaper, and voted on every 4 years. No judge should be appointed by politicians!!!! Let the people decide. My hat if off to Gary Delagnes!!! I think you should be the next District Attorney of San Francisco!!!!

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