From: SF Examiner
By: Michael Barba
The assault case against a man who was shot by San Francisco police after authorities say he attacked an officer with a glass bottle has been dismissed over a technical issue, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jamaica Hampton, 25, has been facing assault, battery and resisting arrest charges over the 2019 incident in the Mission District since last December, when the District Attorney’s Office secured a grand jury indictment against both him and Christopher Flores, one of the two officers who shot at him.
But San Francisco Superior Court Judge Eric Fleming dismissed the charges against Hampton on Friday after defense attorneys argued that prosecutors failed to properly establish his identity as the person who committed the crime while presenting the case to the grand jury, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
While the Public Defender’s Office filed a motion seeking to dismiss the case over the procedural issue, prosecutors say the defense did not dispute Hampton’s involvement in the incident. The ruling also came despite the District Attorney’s Office presenting video evidence against Hampton.
Police previously released video footage that purported to show Hampton rushing Flores and his partner, Officer Sterling Hayes, with a glass alcohol bottle on the morning of Dec. 7, 2019 when the officers pulled up to the corner of Mission and 23rd streets in a police SUV.
During the encounter that ensued, Hampton appeared to strike Flores over the head with the bottle and was later shot by Hayes when he advanced on the officer with the same weapon. Flores then fired a single shot at Hampton after he had already fallen to the ground, but it is unclear whether the bullet struck him.
Hampton survived the shooting but later had his leg amputated as a result of his injuries. Prosecutors say they plan to refile the case against him.
Flores was a rookie officer at the time of the shooting. He is still facing assault and negligent discharge of a firearm charges.
Nicole Pifari, an attorney representing Flores, said her client fired his gun to defend himself “after being brutalized by Hampton.” She criticized District Attorney Chesa Boudin over the ruling.
“I was surprised at this failure of Boudin’s office during the grand jury proceedings, but at the end of the day it has no bearing on the strength of Chris’ case,” Pifari said. “Anyone who has seen that video knows it was Hampton who needlessly attacked this young officer, and it was Hampton that instigated all of the violence that happened that day.”
Danielle Harris, an attorney with the Public Defender’s Office representing Hampton, declined to comment on the decision.
The dismissal was first reported by the news station KTVU.
Both Hampton and Flores remain out of custody.