Who Leaked Details on Adachi’s Death? Cop Says He Investigated

Years after San Francisco police illegally raided a reporter’s home to find out who published a story about the death of public defender Jeff Adachi, a police officer identified himself as a suspected leaker.

Police watchdog believes he provided freelance journalist Bryan Carmody with an internal report on Adachi’s death, Sergeant Douglas Tennenbaum has revealed in a new lawsuit. A later autopsy found he died of cocaine and alcohol-induced heart failure in February 2019 at an apartment in Telegraph Hill.

leaked report Include obscene details about Adachi’s deathleading to suspicions that it was shared in retaliation for the late public defender’s ongoing criticism of San Francisco police.

Under pressure from City Hall to find out the source, the SFPD went so far as to Bring the battering ram to Carmody’s front door And conducted several searches that violated California protections for journalists.

The chain of events brought national disgrace to the department.

Tennenbaum said the city’s watchdog, the Department of Police Accountability (DPA), blamed him for the leak and sought to punish him. He claims the DPA wrongly based its investigation on evidence of illegal searches.

Tennenbaum, who joined the SFPD in 2005, was transferred from motorcycle patrol to the department’s stables in August 2020 when Police Chief Bill Scott stripped him of his badge and firearm. The department’s cavalry unit stables were one of the SFPD’s unwelcome places to hide problem officers.

“Removing and seizing a star and identification card is a very serious matter,” attorney Christopher Shea wrote in the lawsuit filed by Tennenbaum. “For a police officer, this is the highest form of public embarrassment.”

Tennenbaum remains at the stables until returning to patrol in April 2022. By then, prosecutors could no longer bring felony charges against him over the leaks because the statute of limitations had expired.

The DPA dropped its non-criminal case against Tennenbaum within days of the filing, and SFPD investigators separately closed their internal investigation of him, citing a lack of “sufficient evidence,” his lawsuit said.

All the while, Tennenbaum claims he was overlooked in the promotion process. He is suing the city for the wages he earned for overtime as a motorcycle officer and promotion to sergeant.

Tennenbaum heard from The Standard but was not immediately available for comment. He neither admitted nor denied the leaked reports in the suit.

A spokesman for the city attorney’s office, which is expected to defend SFPD and DPA in court, said the office “is reviewing the complaint and will respond in court.”

DPA Director Paul Henderson could not discuss the details of the case, but said, “I believe we did what we were supposed to do.”

The SFPD declined to comment on personnel matters or public litigation.

The lawsuit isn’t the only one sparked by Adachi’s death.

In 2020, a senior official in the chief medical examiner’s office sued former city executive Naomi Kelly for firing him after he refused her request to change the Adachi autopsy report. Kelly’s spokesman said at the time that the lawsuit “completely fictional” San Francisco is Ready to pay $436,000 to settle the case.

Michael Barba can reach [email protected]

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