The San Francisco Sheriff's Department apologized after a “computer glitch” on its inmate locator website falsely listed charges associated with the manufacturing of PCP under the name of the suspect allegedly responsible for the Sunset District explosion on Feb. 9.
Darron Price was charged with involuntary manslaughter, manufacturing a controlled substance, four counts of reckless burning, two counts of child endangerment and one count of elder abuse. The SF Sheriff's website incorrectly said that he was also charged with producing phencyclidine, a stimulant commonly known as PCP. The charges were updated after The Standard alerted the department to the error.
The false information led to early inaccuracies in news reports and rumors about the cause of the blaze.
The SF District Attorney’s Office said it was charging Price with manufacturing cannabis oil.
The Sheriff's Department attributed the error to a computer glitch, after initially stating that the information was given to them by the police department. The site listed a code that broadly defined the charge as manufacturing narcotics, while the description specified PCP.
“SFPD provides the booking charges in numerical form (i.e. 11379.6(a) H&S). We do not provide the written description of the charge,” said Adam Lobsinger, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department.
This incident marks the second time in three months that SF law enforcement has provided false information relating to drug charges.
In December, the SF Police Department falsely accused a man of selling methamphetamine after raiding his Haight Street business for allegedly selling psychedelic mushrooms on Nov. 23.
The Feb. 9 explosion collapsed a 22nd Avenue home and killed Price's wife in a fire. Price’s attorney denies the accusations, and the Public Defender’s Office said its client is expected to plead not guilty to all charges when he is arraigned in court on Feb 24.
“When wrong information is disseminated, especially at the outset of a criminal investigation, it can cause irreparable harm to the individual accused and their family, and impact their ability to get a fair trial,” a spokesperson from the Public Defender’s Office said. “Whether it's human or technical error, there need to be checks in place to ensure that accurate information is available to the public.”
David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected]