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The Latest: Police: Reporter search part of investigation

Thomas Burke Photo: AP. Thomas Burke

May 21, 2019 06:52 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a San Francisco reporter whose home and office were raided by police (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

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San Francisco police say they searched the home and office of a freelance reporter as part of an investigation into whether he was part of a criminal conspiracy to steal a confidential report about the death of the city's former elected public defender.

Police have come under scrutiny from First Amendment advocates and media organizations for raiding Bryan Carmody's home and business on May 10 as part of their investigation.

Chief William Scott said Tuesday that he fully respects journalists' rights.

But he says the raid and seizure of Carmody's equipment was part of a broader investigation into the theft and unauthorized release of a death report that focuses on San Francisco police employees. Officials also believe Carmody participated in criminal acts.

Carmody' attorney, Thomas Burke, declined to comment on the police claims.

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2:40 p.m.

A press advocate says he's not surprised that police raided the home and office of a freelancer even in politically liberal San Francisco.

Jim Wheaton, founder of the First Amendment Project, said people who want to crack down on journalists come in all political stripes.

Wheaton says police raided the home and office of journalist Bryan Carmody precisely because he is an independent freelancer without the protections of larger media outlets.

Carmody obtained from a source a preliminary police report concerning the sudden death of the city's Public Defender Jeff Adachi in February. Police want to know who that source was.

Police said Tuesday they would return seized equipment to Carmody, but a legal fight over the actions will proceed.

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10:15 a.m.

A San Francisco police attorney said that a reporter whose office and work equipment was seized in a police raid can collect his property although the legal issues surrounding the case were not resolved Tuesday.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng set future dates to hear separate motions to quash search warrants used to raid the home of freelance journalist Bryan Carmody and to unseal those warrants. A third motion by Carmody's attorney asked the judge order the immediate return of cameras, computers and cell phones seized by police May 10.

Ronnie Wagner, an attorney for San Francisco police, said she planned to challenge the motions.

Carmody's attorney, Thomas Burke, said police have "essentially acknowledged" that they had no right to his client's equipment.

Media organizations and First Amendment advocates are outraged that police raided a freelance reporter's home and office in search of a leaked police document concerning the death of the city public defender.

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12:01 a.m.

A San Francisco reporter is demanding his property be returned after police raided his home to find the source of a leaked report into the death of the city's public defender.

An attorney for freelancer Bryan Carmody is expected to make the request Tuesday in San Francisco County Superior Court.

Police have defended the raids of Carmody's work and home, which were authorized by search warrants signed by two judges. But First Amendment advocates and news organizations say the raids violate the state's shield law that protects journalists.

Carmody was handcuffed for six hours May 10 while police armed with a sledgehammer searched for evidence related to a police report obtained from a confidential source.

The report contained details of the February death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

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(Copyright 2019 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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