San Francisco prosecutors have dropped several cases involving a narcotics officer who was taken off the streets last week and sent to a unit often used to stash officers facing discipline, The Standard has learned.
Officer Christina Hayes, who has worked closely with the head of the Narcotics Unit in buy-bust operations in the Tenderloin, is facing an internal investigation and prosecutors have been quietly dismissing some of her cases, according to her attorney and multiple defense attorneys.
Julia Fox, an attorney for Hayes, said her client has a track record for being a “truthful and forthright” officer.
“She will fully cooperate with this investigation,” Fox said.
Internal records show Police Chief Bill Scott ordered Hayes to be transferred from the Narcotics Unit to the Department Operations Center on June 20. Officers under investigation are often placed in this center pending the outcome of their cases.
The department declined to confirm if Hayes is under an active investigation, calling it a confidential personnel matter. Department documents show she is no longer working in a publicly facing position.
Deputy Public Defender Diamond Ward said that one of her drug cases that Hayes worked on was dismissed Monday after a prosecutor said the officer had potential disciplinary issues that could impact the case.
The dismissal of narcotics cases comes as San Francisco law enforcement has cracked down on open-air drug markets and possession cases.
Hayes has been with the police department since 2006 and has worked narcotics since at least June 2018. In a recent case involving the head of the Narcotics Unit, Hayes testified as an expert witness and said she has been involved in more than 1,000 narcotics arrests.
The department awarded Hayes with a number of commendations, including Meritorious Conduct Award in 2015 and 2017. She also had three use-of-force cases in her past, including a 2010 shooting incident.
Hayes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Randy Quezada, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, declined comment on Hayes or how many cases have been dismissed as a result of her involvement.
“The District Attorney’s Office is committed to fair and ethical prosecutions,” Quezada said in a statement. “Due to current issues with witness unavailability, we are unable to proceed on some cases. This is a case-by-case determination. If the witness unavailability is resolved, we will determine whether cases can be refiled.”
Public Defender Mano Raju told The Standard that Hayes’ actions could impact thousands of cases.
“No one yet knows how deep this goes, but the initial cases being dismissed appear to be just the tip of the iceberg,” Raju said. “Thousands of cases may be tainted. The district attorney has not yet provided us with any information that we are legally entitled to receive.”