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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

DA Charges Former Cop With Blocking Rape Investigation

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 3:39 PM

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A day after more racist texts exchanged between San Francisco police officers were revealed, this time between officers posted at Taraval Station — including one officer initially suspected of rape — District Attorney George Gascón has charged a former Taraval lieutenant with obstructing the investigation into the alleged rape.

Curtis Liu was a lieutenant at Taraval Station in the Sunset District until last summer, when he abruptly retired after Jason Lai, an officer  under his charge, was investigating for allegedly raping a woman twice at her Sunset District home. 

Lai is the officer who sent the racist texts which were unveiled by Public Defender Jeff Adachi yesterday.

After the woman went to police and Lai was named as a suspect in August, Liu then allegedly placed a phone call to alert Lai that his named was mentioned. According to the Chron, Liu told police he did so as a joke because he thought seeing Lai's name was a "coincidence" — but then retired from his $180,000-a-year job just in case. 

Liu was charged with a felony charge for lying on a police report and two misdemeanors for obstructing a peace officer. It was not clear if he was in custody on Wednesday.

Gascon, who has been at odds with the SFPD of late for his investigations into allegations of racism and bias in the department, charged Liu after investigators from SFPD's Internal Affairs unit handed him the case. (In Lai's text messages, he sent one asking if "IA" was watching.)

Here are the details, as per the DA:

According to court documents, on August 7, 2015 an allegation that a woman had been raped was reported to the San Francisco Police Department. Then-Lieutenant Liu contacted a San Francisco Police Officer who worked at his station, and who had the same name as the reported rapist. Lieutenant Liu discussed the allegations with the Officer, and the Officer provided Lieutenant Liu with information that confirmed that the Officer was, in fact, the person that the rape victim was referring to. Instead of reporting this information to his fellow officers, Liu engaged in a series of actions designed to keep the investigation from focusing on the Officer. These actions included lying to his subordinates and superior officers about the fact that he had contacted the suspect-Officer, and permitting the police report regarding the rape to be filed with the suspect listed as “unknown,” when Lieutenant Liu knew that the proper suspect was the Officer. 
“A willingness to cover up allegations of a crime as serious as rape is not an acceptable quality in any police officer,” Gascón said in a statement. “But the fact that such a void of principle was demonstrated by a leader makes this behavior that much more concerning.” 

SFPD has yet to comment. We'll update if they do.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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