IIB is an independent unit within the SFDA’s Office, which reports directly to the District Attorney, committed to ensuring law enforcement accountability by conducting independent investigations, and where warranted, criminally prosecuting officers who violate the law.
1. Investigate and review all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths.
2. Investigate and review all other excessive use of force cases.
IIB responds to reports from the public and other agencies. Attorneys and investigators work together on these matters to conduct diligent, independent investigations of all credible allegations. Whether by referral or through the on-call process, IIB’s approach is designed to ensure that professional, thorough, and impartial investigations are conducted.
IIB may be reached by e-mail at SFDA-IIB@sfgov.org or telephone at (628) 652-4000.
IIB investigates and independently reviews all officer use of force allegations, including officer-involved shooting incidents resulting in injury or death. The team also reviews all other use of force resulting in death of individuals while in custody or under the control of law enforcement officers. IIB’s investigation and review does not consider issues of civil liability, tactics, and departmental policies and procedures; the only inquiry is whether the officer(s) involved committed any violation of criminal law.
The office has reached an agreement with the San Francisco Police Department on the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) outlining how criminal investigations of officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and uses of force resulting in serious bodily injury will be handled.
A team of inspectors and attorneys from IIB are on call 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. When a covered incident (i.e., an officer-involved shooting or in-custody death) occurs and IIB is notified, the on-call team responds.
IIB attorneys are involved in every aspect of the investigative process and are also responsible for evaluating evidence and recommending decisions to the District Attorney. Working under the direction and leadership of IIB attorneys, IIB inspectors serve as the primary law enforcement investigators on these matters.
Three fundamental principles guide IIB assessments: (1) evidence-based factual analysis; (2) fidelity to the law; and (3) scrupulous adherence to prosecutorial ethics.
Held to the same standard as all prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office, IIB attorneys will only recommend criminal charges to the District Attorney when they believe that based on all admissible evidence they would be able to prove unlawful conduct beyond a reasonable doubt. When charges are filed, IIB handles all aspects of prosecution up to and including trial and sentencing.
For all officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths where criminal charges are not warranted, a report summarizing IIB’s review of the matter will be made public and available on the SFDA website. These reports, including previous decisions of the office since 2010 on officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, are available here.
Promoting accountability in law enforcement, and preventing unlawful conduct that harms the community, requires transparency. For too long in the United States, officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and use-of-force incidents have been shrouded in secrecy. As the lead criminal investigator of these incidents in the City and County of San Francisco, the Internal Investigations Bureau documents and tracks every officer-involved shooting and in-custody death. The IIB Dashboards provide near real time data, broken down by victim demographics and agency.
While the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has been collecting data on officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths since the late 1990s, the data from before 2011 may be incomplete. All incidents since 2011 are represented in the dashboards.
In part stemming from the Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement’s recommendations, IIB was formed in late 2016. On April 10, 2019, IIB and SFPD executed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the investigation of officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths, and uses of force resulting in serious bodily injury. Of note, 2019 is the first year on record that has not had any fatal police shootings.
The following reports document the facts, evidence, and legal analysis the DA’s Office relied on in determining if charges would be filed in the given case.