San Francisco Police Officer Charged With Shooting Man Who Died 3 Years Later
Officer Kenneth Cha, charged with voluntary manslaughter, “lacked a lawful basis to even arrest” the man and “elevated a nonviolent encounter,” the district attorney said.,
A San Francisco police officer was charged with voluntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed man who died three years after being wounded at his home in 2017, the San Francisco district attorney’s office announced on Tuesday.
The officer, Kenneth Cha, was charged for shooting Sean Moore after he and his partner, Officer Colin Patino, responded to a call that Mr. Moore was violating a restraining order early on Jan. 6, 2017, according to the district attorney’s office. Mr. Moore died on Jan. 20, 2020, of what the coroner’s report said was “acute intestinal obstruction” because of bullet wounds to his abdomen from the shooting.
In the statement, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said Officer Cha “lacked a lawful basis to even arrest” Mr. Moore and that he was unarmed at his home when he was shot by Officer Cha.
“When officers inflict unwarranted violence in flagrant disregard of their training, it denigrates the hard work of other police officers and shatters the trust our community places in law enforcement,” Mr. Boudin said. “Rebuilding that trust requires us to hold those officers who inflict unlawful violence accountable.”
The charges against Officer Cha include voluntary manslaughter, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, enhancements for personal use of a firearm and infliction of great bodily injury, the San Francisco district attorney’s office said in a statement on Tuesday. It is only the second time an on-duty law enforcement officer has been prosecuted for a homicide in San Francisco, the office said. Officer Patino was not charged.
The statement said that Mr. Moore’s mother, Cleo Moore, said she was “very happy” to learn of the charges against Officer Cha.
The San Francisco Police Officers Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. It was unclear on Tuesday night if Officer Cha had a lawyer.
When Officer Cha and Officer Patino arrived at Mr. Moore’s door early in the morning on Jan. 6, 2017, Mr. Moore asked them to leave and said he had not violated the restraining order, which prohibited noise harassment, according to the district attorney’s office. He told the officers that he had been sweeping his stairs and taking out his trash.
The officers did not leave, and what followed was a melee between the two officers and Mr. Moore in which Officer Cha pepper-sprayed Mr. Moore and, accidentally, his own partner, according to the district attorney’s office. Officer Patino later struck Mr. Moore with his metal baton, and Mr. Moore struck back, causing Officer Patino to fall down some stairs.
Officer Cha then drew his gun as Mr. Moore kicked in his direction, and Officer Cha shot him twice, according to the district attorney’s office.
“In just eight minutes, Officer Cha elevated a nonviolent encounter to one that took Sean Moore’s life,” Mr. Boudin said.
Three different courts have previously held that Officer Cha and Officer Patino acted unlawfully in using force against Mr. Moore.
In June, the city of San Francisco settled a lawsuit filed by Mr. Moore’s family for $3.25 million that claimed civil rights violations and use of excessive force.
In a statement, Yoel Y. Haile, director of the criminal justice program for the A.C.L.U. of Northern California, commended the district attorney’s office for its “continued effort to hold police officers accountable for criminal behavior.”
“But Mr. Moore’s death is also a searing indictment of the entire carceral system, one that responds to mental health disorders with criminalization and incarceration instead of with treatment and compassion,” he said.