Grand jury indicts San Francisco police officer, 25-year-old man

Jamaica Hampton

San Francisco's District Attorney on Monday is asking a 25-year-old man who threw a glass bottle at police and the officer who shot him to surrender as both were indicted by a grand jury.

In a statement, Chesa Boudin, a progressive prosecutor who used to be a public defender, said that Jamaica Hampton and police officer Christopher Flores were both indicted late last week stemming from a case on Dec. 7, 2019.

Boudin did not elaborate on the charges. He said he would provide more information as soon as both have surrendered and arraignments have been scheduled.

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However, the San Francisco Examiner reported that the grand jury determined there is probable cause to believe Flores committed a crime in connection with last year's shooting near Mission and 23rd streets. The grand jury also returned an indictment against Hampton stemming from the same incident.

At the time, witnesses said Hampton broke a bottle over one of the officer's heads and police returned fire. 

Police were in the neighborhood searching for someone who broke through the door of a nearby apartment and who also may have tried to break into police cars parked in the area. 

Police said Hampton matched the description of the suspect.

But before officers could approach him, police said he started rushing toward their police SUV and threw a vodka bottle at one of the officers, according to police and video. 

Cell phone video caught the aftermath: Paramedics tending to Hampton and two officers getting sprayed with glass. 

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Flores, a rookie officer, started walking toward Hampton and fired his weapon, according to body-worn camera released by police. There was another officer there who also fired his gun, but that officer, Officer Sterling Hayes, has not been charged. 

The San Francisco police union found Boudin's decision "appalling."  

"Unprovoked, Jamaica Hampton brutally attacked Officer Christopher Flores, bludgeoning him repeatedly over the head with a vodka bottle causing severe injuries to Officer Flores’ head," president Tony Montoya wrote in a statement. "Mr. Hampton was the aggressor and Officer Flores acted to protect his own life and to protect the public. Boudin’s failure to personally file charges against Mr. Hampton for his vicious attacks on our officers sends a clear message that Boudin has no intention of protecting officers who are victims of violence. Mr. Boudin is communicating to law enforcement officers today that they must choose between protecting their lives or protecting their freedom, but they cannot do both." 

Shortly after he was shot, Hampton's mother, Tana Hampton, said her son is a former fitness buff and body builder, and he was trying to get his life on track amid addiction issues. 

"He was happy, doing everything he could to make his life better," she said. Her son survived, but he had to have his leg amputated.

SFPD Chief Bill Scott released a statement on Monday. He said he was both surprised and disappointed about the felony indictment. 

Scott cited SFPD's Use of Force policy, seemingly to argue that police faced an immediate threat during the incident. 

"While I find today’s indictment surprising and troubling based on the circumstances, I have faith in our judicial system and confidence that justice will ultimately be done in this case," Scott said.

This is the second police officer charged under Boudin's watch. 

On Nov. 23, Boudin announced his decision to charge another rookie officer, Christopher Samayoa, with manslaughter for fatally shooting 42-year-old Keita O’Neil through the windshield of a moving police car during a December 2017 pursuit in the Bayview.

Samayoa was fired after the shooting.

Boudin asked him to surrender last month, which he did. Samayoa is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 28. 

"Today I'm proud that San Francisco is charting a new course," Boudin said last month. "One that will hold officers accountable when they break the law and value the lives hurt by unwarranted police use of force, a course that will enforce the laws equally...I hope this historic message is loud and clear to the African-American community and to all residents of San Francisco. And this is also a message to the police department. No one is above the law."