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SF cop prosecution: AG Rob Bonta gets more time to decide fate of the case

Rob Bonta, attorney general of California, stands onstage at Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao's inauguration ceremony at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on Jan. 9, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

The California attorney general got another few months to decide whether to take a high-profile manslaughter case against a San Francisco police officer that the city’s chief prosecutor dismissed last month.

At a hearing Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court, a judge gave the AG 90 days to review the case against Christopher Samayoa for killing Keita O’Neil in just four days out of police academy in 2017.

The case marked the first time San Francisco prosecuted a police officer for killing someone while on duty. Years after DA Chesa Boudin filed the charges to fulfill a pledge in his progressive reform platform to hold cops accountable, the case remains politically charged.

O’Neil’s family members urged AG Rob Bonta to take the case in protests leading up to Tuesday’s proceeding and said they were thrilled by the court’s decision. 

“This is a great day,” O’Neil’s aunt April Green said outside the courtroom. 

Brian Ford, Green’s attorney, said the AG has been in communication with them and is taking the case very seriously. 

“We have an objective prosecution now,” he said. 

Jenkins wrote to the AG in January about her plan to dismiss the case because she found it politically motivated and rife with conflicts that would complicate prosecution.

The AG's Office said it saw no such conflicts that would preclude Jenkins from pressing on with the case.

The AG is set to return to court June 5 to decide if it will prosecute Samayoa or close the case once and for all.