Mission Street, looking toward 23rd Street on Saturday morning, not long after police shot 24-year-old Jamaica Hampton. Photo by Julian Mark

Video of Saturday morning’s police shooting of Jamaica Hampton reviewed extensively by Mission Local reveals the 24-year-old was not shot while purportedly assaulting an officer — but rather, while attempting to escape a pair of them. Hampton was shot, at least once, while running from one officer and in the direction of another, following an extended foot chase. 

He was hit in what appeared to be his front left midsection or upper leg about a minute into the video clip, and collapsed into the middle of 23rd Street. A clutch of San Francisco Police Department officers subsequently stripped his clothing and applied resuscitation efforts as blood pooled on the double yellow lines. 

While Mission Local was able to review the footage thoroughly, we were unable to obtain permission to publish it online. 

In the video, Hampton appeared to be holding an object in his hand — potentially the bottle with which he allegedly struck an officer moments before. That alleged attack is not caught on the footage observed by Mission Local.  

Rather, it begins with a pair of officers running, guns drawn, eastbound on 23rd Street, attempting to contain the fleeing Hampton. He bobs and weaves between parked cars and runs about the sidewalks and the streets in an effort to elude the officers — who have their guns drawn throughout. At several points, Hampton ceases running, and both officers take aim at him and have a clear line of fire. Since there is no sound in the video, it is unclear what directions the officers were giving to Hampton. But, rather than surrender, he would then break off running again. 

In the pivotal sequence, he sprints off the sidewalk on the south side of 23rd, past an SUV, and past one officer. He then heads onto the opposite sidewalk on the north of the street and begins running west, toward Mission Street — before abruptly cutting between two parked cars and darting into the street. 

At this point he is running in the direction of the second officer, who was standing in the middle of 23rd Street — though, it appears, not directly at him. That officer fires at least once at Hampton, from a range of perhaps six to eight feet and what looks to be a 45-degree angle from the running suspect. 

Hampton doubles over and hits the ground. He appears to attempt to get up, but he cannot.

Eyewitness accounts following the 8:33 a.m. Saturday incident reported an officer with a bloody face and what appeared to be a broken nose, and the SFPD confirmed an officer was hospitalized along with Hampton. 

The  Dec. 7 incident was the city’s first police shooting in 2019 and, in fact, its first since June 2018. 

Tana Hampton holds pictures of her son Jamaica, who was shot by police on Saturday morning near 23rd and Mission Streets. Photo by Abraham Rodriguez.

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At a Tuesday night demonstration in front of Mission Police Station, Mission District activists were surprised when Hampton’s mother, Tana, unexpectedly showed up and asked organizers to address the crowd. Tana Hampton, who had made the trip to the city from Sacramento, identified the shooting victim as her son. The SFPD confirmed on Wednesday in a press release that Jamaica Hampton was the man involved in the Saturday incident. He was approached by police responding to a suspected burglary and then allegedly assaulted an officer before “an officer-involved shooting occurred,” according to the press release. 

Hampton had struggled with substance abuse. Family spokeswoman Dyne Biancardi said he’d relocated to the city from Sacramento for a treatment program. Jamaica Hampton had been homeless “for a while,” according to Biancardi. 

Wednesday’s SFPD press release announced that Hampton had been booked on the charges of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm (two counts), battery with injury on a peace officer (two counts), battery resulting in serious injury (two counts), and obstructing or resisting an “executive officer” in the performance of duties, by use of threats, force of violence (two counts).  

Biancardi lives a few blocks away from where the shooting occurred. She told reporters she was initially contacted by Jamaica Hampton’s brother. She then waited outside of Jamaica Hampton’s hospital room for five hours, she said. Biancardi, who is also a lawyer, said the Jamaica Hampton had been shot in the leg and that it was unlikely he would be able to walk the same way again. 

Hampton’s sister, Brittany, told Mission Local that the family’s attempts to visit Hampton in the hospital were barred by sheriff’s deputies, who said they were acting on the orders of the District Attorney. Our calls to the DA have not been returned. 

The Hampton family hopes to visit Jamaica Hampton this afternoon. 

Above: Jamaica Hampton’s interview with CityTeam, a nonprofit. The video was published on Oct. 29, 2019 via Youtube.

A medical worker told media gathered Wednesday morning at San Francisco General Hospital that Hampton had been shot three times in his legs. SFPD officers purportedly shot at Hampton eight total times.  

Brittany Hampton told Mission Local that the SFPD contacted her and said no charges would be filed against her brother. SFPD spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak, however, denied that any charges had been dropped. “The press release is accurate,” he said.   

The SFPD has announced that a town hall will be held within 10 days of the shooting. Its exact date and location are yet to be determined. 

Update, 5:50 p.m.: The town hall meeting regarding this shooting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, at 825 Shotwell St., between 21st and 22nd.

Julian Mark

Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

Joe Eskenazi

Joe was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. “Your humble narrator” was a writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015, and a senior...

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32 Comments

  1. The playbook is the police will assault his character/record and claim they feared for their lives.

    This will be a good test for the cultural reform and the new focus on accountability.

    Fortunately, the incoming DA will not hesitate to prosecute.

    1. Unfortunately for the SJW types, I think our new DA will hesitate to prosecute. Because running within 6-8 feet of an officer with a weapon, after you have already attacked another officer, seems sufficient to earn you a shooting. But it will be interesting to take the measure of Mr. Boudin early on so we all know what we’re dealing with.

      1. Also, the description of the video shows “several” instances where the officers could have fired but instead held back and the suspect then fled again. They didn’t fire until he was running in the direction of one of the officers with a weapon in his hand.

        Mission Local – do we know if the two officers involved are the Black and Latino officers described by a witness in an earlier story?

        1. Yuliya — 

          It’s not possible to conclusively state the race of any of the participants based upon the video we observed. Conversely, nothing we observed casts that witness’ recollections into doubt

          JE

          1. Hi Joe,

            One comment – in an earlier story, Mission Local reported that a witness observed that … “During this time, while the man was on the ground, the witness says the subject was shot by both of the officers.”

            The article above doesn’t explicitly say if the man was shot while on the ground – does the video show that? To me, thats a very important point – certainly any sort of melee weapon would not be a threat to officers while the attacker was prone.

            If the video shows he was _only_ shot while running, then it does call into question the earlier witness’ report.

            Thanks for covering this story so throughly! Regards,

          2. Sir or madam —

            Sadly, we can’t confirm nor deny that based upon the quality of the video on the screens we observed it on. It’s easy to see when he was first hit, because he falls to the ground. If he was hit while already on the ground, it’s not so simple to detect this.

            I expect this may be more fully resolved on Tuesday at the Town Hall meeting.

            JE

    2. Instead ML is publishing a promo video for the guy who beat up a cop and is selectively describing the video (without sound and conveniently missing the part where he breaks the cop’s nose) to us. I’d like to see it so that I can form my own opinion.

      1. Hello Jose — 

        We have published no videos. We are not “selectively” describing the video; we’ve described it in full. The alleged assault was not on this video, so it was not “conveniently” missed. It purportedly occurred beforehand and was not caught on this camera.

        We’d like to see it too. There is a Town Hall meeting on Tuesday and I anticipate we’ll see it then.

        Your insinuation that we have altered the facts is ignorant and wrong and, frankly, we resent it.

        Yours,

        JE

        1. Posting “Jamaica’s Story” isn’t a puff piece about the guy who beat up the cop? If you want this to be balanced, maybe profile the police officer and his family as well as the other victims of this guy’s rampage through the Mission that morning.

          1. Sir —

            Your idea of balance is extremely reductive. This is the publicly available video we have; if we had video of him doing less societally acceptable things, I doubt you’d be complaining.

            JE

          2. I don’t think reducing it to a Team Cop vs Team Criminal paradigm is particularly descriptive. Most of us who live in the community want both just policing and safe streets. When a guy who is clearly unstable goes on a rampage through our neighborhood, most people would expect the police to react and intervene. If a cop gets beat up and the police view the guy as an imminent threat to themselves and other people, I imagine they would shoot to stop him. It’s not necessarily fair through a purely individualistic lens, but Jamaica’s rights don’t supersede everyone else’s and he doesn’t have the right to inflict harm indiscriminately on innocent people. Thankfully they shot him in the leg and he (or innocent bystanders) weren’t killed.

            All this nonsense with the mother giving speeches in front of the hospital and promotional videos of the suspect as if he’s a kid on the up & up purely distract from what happened. He’s not a victim and he made a choice to go out and commit crimes against innocent people that morning. The press should investigate the events of the day that led up to the shooting and give context to the broader event.

  2. Hola joey you funny as shit

    You think it’d work out for you
    If you were caught commiting crimes
    And instead of hands up and getting
    Outta jail soon after you instead kept On evading then smashed bottle on
    Cops face then ran at another cop…
    Nah you’d do no such dumbfuckery.

    Hampton chose to violently attack cops
    AFTER victimizing non cops that morn.
    Open your house to felons joe
    As you wanna coddle them –
    It is always someone else’s fault,
    Society/the system yaddayaddaa
    Poor criminals in your eyes are rarely
    Responsible for their actions/choices.
    Have you thought about installing
    Some bunk beds and making a cozy
    Retreat\bnb for misunderstood felons ?

    Pertaining to character – what did
    Aristotle say – we are what we
    Repeatedly DO

    1. Do you want to open your house to George Zimmerman and Darren Wilson since you love people who kill “criminals” so much?

      Stop being a brat. They’re openly providing non biased info in this article. They’re describing a video. Do you think cops should be able to shoot whoever they want without any looking into the circumstances? I think deaths and gun injuries need to be explained and justified, personally. But I guess you could move someplace where there’s no police overview for killings since you like that idea so much.

      Have you ever had a cop hold a gun on you? In that moment they decide if you live or die, and definitively they sometimes decide that people should die without sufficient cause. Not all of the time, not necessarily often or most of the time, but we know for a fact that some cops have killed people without a real reason. We cant allow that even sometimes. So that means we have to check in EVERY TIME.

      Cops in the United States kill hundreds of people every year. That’s far more than any other developed countries. We need to keep track of why. By investigating every time maybe we find that our criminals are more violent than in other places if you think cops are always right. Or we find out there were other options. Or we find out we have a higher percentage of corrupt cops. Or that they’re trained to use deadly force too often.

      Personally I think that cops on duty view ALL citizens as potential threats as evidenced by the fact that they’re ALWAYS armed even when doing community outreach with children. But maybe I’m wrong. But unless we look into it, we can never be sure.

  3. I’m not defending the cops for what they did, but we live in the locked and gated building where he was somehow able to gain entry at a little after 8 in the morning.
    We were sleeping and were awakened by a huge crashing sound and screaming voices. He had kicked in my neighbors door that was dead bolted and entered saying he was looking for someone. My neighbor was absolutely terrified, has a newborn baby and I’m sure has PTSD from this traumatic encounter.
    It’s left us shaken and terrified thinking of how someone could have gotten in the building in the first place, and that someone could kick down the door with just one kick. Does he have friends? What exactly was he looking for? What was his purpose and intent upon finding this person? If it was her husband that had been up and not her could it have escalated even further with this guy?

    So you obviously don’t know the whole situation. They didn’t have to use that much force, but when you’re dealing with dangerous people that are possibly mentally ill, on drugs, etc they don’t know what they’re dealing with either other than they got a report of a dangerous guy who fit the description right after the 911 call and he’s not responding to their requests, and is violent towards cops.

  4. Nice angelic innocent video of a suspected burglar who smashed a cop’s face with a bottle. Hope the cops recover from both their physical injury and the emotional toll Mr Hampton put them through. Let’s not forget the victims of the burglary Mr Hampton attempted. Mr Hampton and his family are going through a difficult time in their lives as a result of this incident. However, Mr Hampton is personally responsible for this outcome. Mr Hampton attempted a break-in and when confronted by the police, he smashed a bottle in a cop’s face and broke his nose. Mr Hampton is to blame for the repercussions of this encounters; I wish ML would open their eyes to this fact.

    1. You cant see the video, nor is it described in any way that could be seen as angelic. The view I take from it (as a liberal that admittedly hates cops) is that he needed to be arrested and he will hopefully be serving time but there wasnt a reason that this was solved by a gun. Have you ever been hit in your life? Did you have to shoot and seriously injure the person who hit you? Should professionals that are highly trained be able to de-escalate a dangerous situation especially when they out number someone by several to one? I think they should.

      I also hope the cops recover from their injuries. And I’m happy that unlike in other situations they immediately put work into keeping this guy alive. But that doesnt mean I’m okay with them not being skilled enough to stop this situation without permanently disabling someone.

      There was a route to take in this situation that didnt involve bullets. And him getting shot didnt help anyone. And he was a SUSPECT in a burglary. Have you heard of the concept of innocent until proven guilty? That idea is meant to keep someone from being hurt or thrown in jail or killed for a crime they didnt commit. We dont know if he actually committed a crime because he hasn’t been tried. And even if he was convicted, the punishment for theft isn’t getting shot.

  5. Seriously?? This guy assaulted a police officer and had a weapon. The police showed tremendous restraint. I’m so happy they are out there and doing their jobs. Reporters like you will ensure that our city will be punished for wanting protection from criminals. Thanks for once again trying to make our neighborhood even more unsafe for those of us who actually live here. You are a disgrace.

    1. Shoot first and no bother asking questions is your view I see.

      I think cops are poorly trained, there was no need for shooting at this dude 8 times I can see.

    2. You realize that the author is a San Francisco native that lives in the area right? Do you have any critical thinking skills rattling around in there?

    1. Sir —

      As noted, prominently, in the article, the video was extensively reviewed by three different Mission Local reporters. Did you read over this?

      Best,

      JE

  6. There is very little definitive evidence of what exactly transpired.
    Aside from the implication the arrested was subject to an abusive childhood experience.

    With contradictory witness statements and limited video – it’s a bit alarming folks are already proclaiming the guilt and culpability of the accused.

    There will be a “town hall” where generalized information will be presented.
    Questions about specifics will be answered with a “we can’t comment on that because the case is under investigation”.
    Folks will then have an opportunity to comment or rant about crime, general lack of police presence, social injustice and whatever is troubling them at the moment.
    Little will be resolved and people will leave feeling our city is descending further into dysfunctionality.

  7. Sadly this article can’t confirm one single fact regarding the shooting. Read it five times and not one thing can be confirmed as fact, other than “ this person said “. The headline leads many to believe the cops shot someone who was running away. Great reporting or simply not.

    1. I don’t agree with this level of criticism towards ML. Information about this unfortunate incident is quite limited but ML has taken a leading role in distributing whatever is out there.

      I do get the sense that ML leans towards the group that feels “If a police officer fires a shot then the police must be wrong and the person they fire at must be in the right”. But if you compare ML’s reporting compared to other local sources….well it is 48 times as credible, reaching Cronkitian levels in comparison.

      But the headline to this article is poorly stated. It sounds as if the police had claimed that they fired as soon as the officer was assaulted, but in fact he was running away. But the basis of the article makes it seem as if the cops had significant restraint, withholding fire until it seemed possible that the suspect was possibly going to use the bottle again.

  8. After seeing the several angles of video just released, I think you’d have to conclude that Jamaica was in fact running directly at the officer who fired, and was just a couple of steps away from the officer when the officer shot him. While you can debate whether deescalation techniques could have been used to prevent the situation from getting to that point, I think the record should be corrected to note that he wasn’t merely running in the direction of the officer, he was running right at the officer.

  9. Clean shooting. The video is clear. At 6ft away, you have virtually no reaction time and absolutely no assessment time. In the perp’s mind, he may have been trying to escape. Nevertheless, he clearly closed distance on the cop in an abrupt, alarming way. To say the cop did wrong here is to show a) your utter ignorance of an actually violent encounter b) knee-jerk, ideological bias against police officers trying to maintain law and order. This person had already attacked a cop, brazenly and without remorse. To side with him makes you vile. San Franciscans pay more money than most and deserve a community free from crime as much as any other.

  10. I watched all the videos released by SFPD and it is clear that the suspect is running with a bottle in his hand and headed straight for the police officer when the officer starts shooting at him. Only after does the suspect change course and runs at a 45 degree angle to try to escape.

  11. After watching the video, this story is embarrassingly inaccurate. You attack one cop who fights you off, hit another cop with a bottle leaving him bleeding on the ground, and then run at the first cop with the bottle…of course you’re going to get shot. Have you published a retraction regarding this purple prose? American policing desperately needs reform, but this embarrassing claptrap only gives the MAGA nuts more power on their side. You should feel some level of shame for your misrepresentation now that the video is available to all.

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