SF sheriff oversight board member, who was formerly incarcerated, arrested on sexual assault charges

A board member of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department Oversight Board was arraigned on Monday on sexual assault and other charges. 

William Monroe Palmer, 53, pleaded not guilty to charges including sodomy by use of force, sexual battery by restraint, assault and false imprisonment. His arraignment came after his arrest on Thursday. 

He's accused of sexually and physically assaulting a woman in his home, after offering her a ride to a nearby BART station, according to the district attorney's office. 

Palmer was formerly incarcerated, and spent 31 years in prison in Solano County for a botched kidnapping and robbery when he was 17 years old. The victim turned out to be an off-duty officer, and Palmer was shot in the knee during the robbery attempt. 

The California Supreme Court later ruled that 23 of the years he spent for a crime he committed as a juvenile were constitutional excessive punishment.

Palmer was release from prison in 2019. He has been an outspoken activist for social justice reform and has worked with young people through various programs. 

"He immediately assumed the position as a leader by advocating for social reforms, and mentoring youth both in the community and college students at the University of San Francisco as part of the PACE program," it said in his profile on the oversight board website.

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Palmer has also been appointed to the San Francisco Reentry Council’s Sentencing Commission, which works to "improve public safety, reduce recidivism, and reform criminal sentencing" and "generate innovative criminal justice reform strategies," according to its website.  

His arrest last week stemmed from a report of an attack that allegedly occurred on Aug. 30, according to the district attorney's office. 

"I am grateful to the survivor of this attack for coming forward and sharing her story," said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. "My office takes these cases seriously and will fight for justice on her behalf in the courtroom." 

Supervisor Aaron Peskin has called on Palmer to resign from his post on the sheriff's oversight board.

KTVU reached out to the sheriff's department for a statement, which said it was not commenting on the case at this time.

The oversight board has not responded to KTVU's inquiries. 

Palmer was scheduled to return to court on Nov. 28 for a preliminary hearing.