San Francisco authorities have cracked down on journalist Bryan Carmody for refusing to reveal the source or sources who leaked damaging information about the death of a popular public defender.
When San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi died suddenly at the age of 59 earlier this year, he was mourned by city officials and politicians. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), whom Adachi mentored and later fought bitterly as a prosecutor, issued a glowing statement: “Jeff was a national leader in advocating for the rights of the accused and due process, an outspoken fighter for justice and police accountability, and a fierce and talented advocate for his clients.”
At first, Adachi’s death seemed unremarkable, if sudden. Then a story emerged that police had found that on the night he died, he had dinner with a woman who was not his wife, then died of an apparent cocaine overdose.
Police are determined to find the source who leaked the information. When they asked Carmody to reveal his sources, he refused. So they returned Friday with a sledgehammer and a search warrant, handcuffed him for several hours, and took away almost all of the equipment he needs to work as a freelance journalist.
The San Francisco Examiner reports:
“They have completely shut down my business,” said Carmody, who has operated as an independent stringer for Bay Area and national television stations, including Fox News, CNBC and CBS Evening news.
Carmody accused police of “intimidation” to “make me break my [journalistic] ethics.”
“I’m refusing to give up my source,” he said.
A San Francisco Police Department spokesperson defended their action in a statement Friday, saying that the warrant was granted by a judge and the raid was “part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the leak of the Adachi police report.”
The Los Angeles Times suggests in a report that city officials are supporting the crackdown:
“The citizens and leaders of the City of San Francisco have demanded a complete and thorough investigation into this leak, and this action represents a step in the process of investigating a potential case of obstruction of justice along with the illegal distribution of confidential police material,” police spokesman David Stevenson said in a statement Saturday to The Times.
The city’s public defender’s office, which Adachi once led, said in a statement that “all of the criminal justice and City Hall leaders agree that the release of police reports in this fashion is wrong and we hope that the truth of who leaked the police report will emerge so that it doesn’t happen again.”
There are conflicting reports as to whether the FBI was also involved in the raid.
San Francisco prides itself on its left-wing “resistance” to President Donald Trump, whom Democrats claim is a threat to press freedom because of his frequent criticisms of “fake news.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.