After learning that one of his officers was accused of raping a woman while off duty last year, a San Francisco police lieutenant did all he could to protect that officer.
But last week, eight months after the rape allegations surfaced, San Francisco Police Lieutenant Curtis Liu was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors, including making a false statement on a police report and two counts of delaying a police officer.
The cop who was accused of rape, Jason Lai, was also arrested last month, but not on the rape charges as investigators say they found insufficient evidence to charge him with that. Instead, he was charged with six misdemeanors of accessing confidential information of citizens through police databases.
Both officers have since resigned.
According to the San Francisco District Attorney:
According to court documents, on August 7, 2015 an allegation that a woman had been raped was reported to the San Francisco Police Department. Then-Lieutenant Liu contacted a San Francisco Police Officer who worked at his station, and who had the same name as the reported rapist. Lieutenant Liu discussed the allegations with the Officer, and the Officer provided Lieutenant Liu with information that confirmed that the Officer was, in fact, the person that the rape victim was referring to. Instead of reporting this information to his fellow officers, Liu engaged in a series of actions designed to keep the investigation from focusing on the Officer. These actions included lying to his subordinates and superior officers about the fact that he had contacted the suspect-Officer, and permitting the police report regarding the rape to be filed with the suspect listed as “unknown,” when Lieutenant Liu knew that the proper suspect was the Officer.
Although the alleged rape occurred in August 2015, it was not until March 23rd of 2016 that Officer Lai was arrested for two misdemeanor counts of Unlawful Possession of Local Criminal Offender History Information and four misdemeanor counts of Misuse of Confidential Department of Motor Vehicles Information.
The officer apparently used the aforementioned databases to track his rape victim. A woman accused him of sexual assault after they both consumed large amounts of alcohol, although Officer Lai was never charged on the sexual assault because prosecutors deemed the case a lack of evidence.
Stemming from the rape investigation, investigators obtained a search warrant of Officer Lai’s personal cell phone, in which they found several racists text describing black people as niggers, barbarians, and wild animals. The texts also makes derogatory remarks about Latinos, homosexuals, and Muslims.
Lieutenant Liu along with other officers participated in the text messages. The racial exploitation resulted in several officer firings. Now, hundreds of criminal cases that involved the embattled officers will be thrown out.