Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cops, Lies, and Videotape Part 2: Another Case Dismissed Because of Officer Misconduct

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Group think
  • Group think

Just when the recent SFPD scandal dubbed Cops, Lies, and Videotape, had dissipated from the news cycle, a San Francisco judge today dismissed another drug case citing, once again, officer misconduct.

In his crusade against the San Francisco Police Department, Public Defender Jeff Adachi held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that a recent drug sales case was dropped after surveillance showed officers illegally entering a Richmond apartment where a medical marijuana card-holder lived.

Robert Amparan, a private defense attorney, who was defending McLaren Wenzell against

charges of drug possession, told SF Weekly that while this case is isolated from the Henry Hotel scandal earlier this month, it shows that similar lawlessness is widespread in the SFPD.

"The police department is trying to say we have this isolated tumor that

we're in control of and it's not going to spread," he says. 

Amparan said Officer Michael Chang, Sergeant Gary Watts, and Officer Martinez

responded to a report of a marijuana scent within the private apartment

complex at the corner of 33rd Avenue and Geary Boulevard. Without a search

warrant or permission, the officers drove into the parking garage of the apartment

complex -- they drove in after a resident had

opened the garage door, according to Amparan.

The officers then asked the woman

if they could search the building. They stated in the police report that

she had given them permission to be there. 

Once cops were there, the "woman didn't feel

she had a choice," Amparan says.  "How could you ask for permission to get into the

building when you're already in it?" 


said the surveillance footage he got from the apartment building shows the

officers walking door-to-door, sniffing for pot.

They ran into McLaren in the hallway, and claimed they smelled burnt

marijuana, according to

Amparan. They talked to him for nine minutes, trying to get permission

to search his room, but he refused.

He did, however, go back into his room to gather his doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana (but

no license), and a glass jar filled with pot.

The officers

followed him into the room, and two witnesses who were in the room saw Sergeant Watts draw his gun. After searching the room, the officers

found 410 grams of pot, and demanded to know: "Where's the money?"

It's the latest drug case that's been dismissed because of alleged police misconduct. Earlier this month, Adachi unleashed a massive

investigation against the SFPD after surveillance footage he'd obtained from the Henry

Hotel showed police officers unlawfully entering

rooms, and then later covering it up in police reports.

The scandal led District Attorney George Gascón to dismiss more than 70 cases involving the eight officers from Southern Station.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly 

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About The Author

Lauren Smiley


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"