SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — A judge today ordered the release without bail of a man shot by San Francisco police in January while prosecutors appeal a ruling that dismissed all but two of the charges against him.
Sean Moore, a mentally ill 43-year-old San Francisco resident, has been in custody since a Jan. 6 encounter with police at his home in the 500 block of Capitol Avenue in the Oceanview neighborhood that started when a neighbor called police around 4 a.m. to make a noise complaint.
Moore, who repeatedly told the officers to leave his property, was unarmed but has been accused by police and prosecutors of kicking and hitting the officers during the heated confrontation. The officers used batons and pepper spray on him before one opened fire.
Moore was hospitalized and underwent multiple surgeries after the shooting.
He was initially charged with a number of felonies and misdemeanors, but a ruling last month by San Francisco Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross dismissed all but two charges against him, leaving him scheduled to go to trial on just a misdemeanor violation of a stay away order and felony battery causing serious injury.
Prosecutors today said they planned to appeal the ruling to a state appellate court get clarity before proceeding.
Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, noted that Ross’ ruling conflicted with a previous decision at a preliminary hearing that allowed 10 charges to go to trial.
“We have two judges that have made contradictory findings, and so as we would typically do, we want some clarity from the bench and we’re seeking that clarity,” Bastian said.
Deputy Public Defender Brian Pearlman said that Ross had found police were not in performance of their duties at the time of their confrontation with Moore, meaning they were not acting within the law.
If the appellate court upholds that decision, prosecutors should drop the remaining charges against Moore, Pearlman said.
“I’m just happy that Mr. Moore is finally going to get to go home and be with his own family,” Pearlman said. “It’s been very difficult for him to be in custody all this time.”
Pearlman in court also mentioned media reports that the officer who shot Moore, Officer Kenneth Cha, was the same officer who shot a man in the 900 block of Market Street on Wednesday after responding to what police have said was a stabbing in progress. That man, 26-year-old Nicholas Flusche, died at the scene.
Police have not released the names of the officers involved in that shooting and today would not confirm or deny Cha’s involvement.
Department policy is to release the names of the officers within 10 days of an officer-involved shooting.
Moore is currently scheduled to go to trial by the end of May, and his next court date is May 10.
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