San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins filed a motion Thursday to dismiss a case against a police officer who shot a man in 2019, marking the second police shooting case her office has dismissed this year in prosecutions she characterized as politically motivated.
“Exculpatory evidence was not adequately presented to the grand jury by the previous administration,” Jenkins said about the charges against Officer Christopher Flores under her ousted predecessor, Chesa Boudin. “They failed to disclose testimony to the grand jury from at least two witnesses corroborating Flores’s self-defense claim. A complete and impartial analysis of the evidence does not support charges against Flores.”
Flores was indicted by a grand jury under Boudin for shooting Jamaica Hampton in the Mission in 2019. Flores was charged with negligent discharge and assault with a firearm, among other charges. Hampton survived and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Flores was being trained by another officer when they responded to a call on Dec. 7, 2019, regarding a suspected burglary. The pair encountered Hampton near Mission and 23rd Streets, where Hampton allegedly attacked both officers with a bottle. After the trio parted, Hampton allegedly charged at training officer Sterling Hayes, who shot Hampton. Hampton then dropped the bottle and was on his knees when Flores fired a single shot at him, according to body-camera footage of the shooting.
Hayes yelled at Flores to “Stop, stop, stop!” after Flores shot Hampton, who survived but had his leg amputated as a result of the shooting.
The case is one of three high-profile police shooting cases charged under Boudin. Earlier this year, Jenkins dismissed the charges against one of the officers, Chris Samayoa, who shot and killed Keita O’Neil in 2017.
The remaining case is against Officer Kenneth Cha, who shot Sean Moore on his doorstep. Moore died from his wounds three years later.
“We do not believe that the prior administration had full faith in this prosecution as they quietly offered to resolve the case by dismissing the charges in exchange for a one-day use-of-force training, and a restorative justice meeting,” Jenkins said, adding that the prosecution was politically motivated.
She made the same accusations when her office dismissed the manslaughter charges against Samayoa.
The motion to dismiss was filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court by Darby Williams, who heads the DA's police accountability unit.
Flores' attorney, Nicole Pifari, did not return a request for comment. Neither did Boudin.
An attorney who formerly represented Hampton, Danielle Harris, however, questioned Jenkins' rationale for seeking to dismiss the case.
Flores' lawyer, she noted, had previously filed a motion to dismiss based on the same logic, and the court denied the motion. "It is just unheard of for a DA to say, 'Oh, even though the court has already said these government proceedings are perfectly legal, we are going to use that as a basis for claiming that we have to dismiss a case,' " Harris said. "The DA in essence is acting for the defense."
Adante Pointer, who is suing the city and Flores on behalf of Hampton, also expressed his disappointment about Jenkins' plans to dismiss the case.
"Today, Officer Flores is able to escape criminal prosecution while Mr. Hampton will never be able to escape the nightmare of losing his leg due to Officer Flores’ gratuitous use of violence.”
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org