The city of San Francisco has agreed to pay $369,000 to freelance journalist Bryan Carmody as part of a settlement after police raided his home and office in May 2019 to find information on a confidential source. The settlement still needs the approval of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Government Audit and Oversight Committee before it can go into effect.
See previous story: San Francisco Police Chief Apologizes For Raid On Journalist’s Home and Office
The report contained information on the unexpected death of the city’s former elected public defender, Jeff Adachi, who had openly criticized the San Francisco police. The report was considered an attempt to “smear Adachi’s legacy,” the The Associated Press reported on March 3rd.
Both the San Francisco Police Chief William Scott and Mayor London Breed initially defended the search, but backtracked after the raid sparked national outrage among journalists and press freedom advocates.
According to Courthouse News Service, the judges who approved of the five search warrants the police used to raid Carmody’s home were not told that he had a valid press pass. This fact only came to light after the First Amendment Coalition, a press advocacy group, pushed to get Carmody’s warrants unsealed.
Executive Director of the First Amendment Coalition David Snyder told the The Associated Press that the police’s behavior was “outrageous.”
“The city really overstepped its bounds,” he said. “The fact that it did so sent a chill across journalism and I think, chilled the ability of journalists to do what they do, which is to inform the public so the public can participate meaningfully in their democracy.”