A San Francisco grand jury charged a police officer who shot a robbery suspect after the man allegedly threatened and attacked officers with a liquor bottle last year, resulting in the individual’s leg being amputated due to injuries.
The 25-year-old suspect, Jamaica Hampton, was indicted, but details of his arrest on December 7 were not revealed, said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. In a statement, the district attorney said the indictment was returned on Friday, adding he would reveal more information when they have scheduled an arraignment.
Last December, police released a statement that said the shooting incident occured after officers received reports of multiple attempted break-ins at an apartment and several police cars.
Two officers, Christopher Flores and Sterling Hayes, later identified Hampton as a potential suspect for the crimes. However, the man allegedly used a vodka bottle to hit Flores in the head repeatedly. Police said the attack left the officer injured and the loss of his baton.
On Monday, Hampton’s lawyer, Danielle Harris, said his client has been experiencing a “crisis state due to a pre-existing behavioral health condition” when police officers approached him.
In body camera video recordings, Hampton could be seen running away from the two officers as they told him to get on the ground. The statement also wrote that Flores and Hayes used pepper spray on the suspect, which had no effect,
Police added that after the suspect attacked Hayes with a bottle, the officer fired his gun, hitting Hampton, who quickly fell to the ground. Body camera footage showed Flores firing again at the suspect after Hayes announced “shots fired.”
The official statement said Flores fired the shots after Hampton rose to his knees and began to move towards the officers. Police arrested the suspect for alleged assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a police officer, and other related crimes.
However, Boudin withdrew the charges against Hampton in January, arguing that the police officers’ use of force was being investigated. He said that there were “multiple victims who are seeking, and who deserve justice.”
The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, Tony Montoya, expressed his criticism of Boudin’s decision. He noted that Flores suffered a fractured skull after the incident and that the ruling announced “open season” on police.
Hampton’s lawyer said the shooting incident forced his client to have his left leg amputated and caused permanent severe nerve damage to his left arm. She added that the police officers repeatedly shot the suspect even after he was forced onto the ground, NBC News reported.
Harris said under San Francisco police policy; a crisis intervention team should have been summoned to the scene of the incident. She added she was not surprised by the indictment but also expressed her disappointment.
Hampton’s lawyer said, “I don’t believe that our legal system or community have anything to gain from prosecuting Jamaica Hampton given the swift and severe street justice that was dealt to him by police.”