Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

SF (Ex-)Officer Jeffrey Serna allegedly arrests man for saying he would act as a witness

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Case: MYERS v. CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO, No. C 08-1163 MEJ (N.D. California, September 18, 2012)

What happened: San Francisco police officer Jesse Serna allegedly punched a suspect that he was arresting. As the arrest was taking place the suspect asked if anyone would act as witness to the fact that Officer Serna had just hit him. Plaintiff stepped forward and agreed to act as a witness. The police the arrested plaintiff for obstruction, claiming that he had earlier misdirected them while chasing the suspect and then that he was hindering the arrest by talking.

Decision: No qi for Officer Serna.


For background purposes only, the Court notes that in February 2006 (one year prior to the subject incident), the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Serna was the highest user of force — out of the 2,200 officers in the SFPD — during a nine-year period analyzed by the newspaper. Serna reported using force during 57 incidents, which was 50 percent more than the next highest officer’s. Id. On nine occasions, Serna made the SFPD’s internal watch list of officers who use force frequently. During this period, Serna injured 31 people. In another San Francisco Chronicle article published in 2009, the newspaper reported that two previous lawsuits complaining about Serna’s use of excessive force were settled by the City for $195,000, and the City had recently offered $350,000 to settle another lawsuit currently pending against Serna. Serna was eventually terminated by the SFPD in 2011.

Question: Is Mr. Serna working for another department now?

Written by Burgers Allday

September 23, 2012 at 8:30 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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