A man and a woman speak into microphones
Keita O'Neil's aunt, April Green (right) and her attorney Brian Ford express their relief after court Tuesday morning. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

Ahead of an expected dismissal of the case by District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, the California Attorney General’s office today requested and received an additional 90 days to review the prosecution of Christopher Samayoa, the former police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in 2017. 

The AG’s office is interested not only in the case but in investigating Jenkins’ handling of it. 

Deputy Attorney General Susan Schwartz today asked Judge Loretta Giorgi that the presiding judge stay the DA’s pending dismissal an additional 90 days, specifically to review the actions of the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Giorgi granted the request.

Last month, Jenkins announced her intention to dismiss the charges against Samayoa, who is believed to be the first on-duty police officer to face homicide charges in San Francisco history for shooting Keita O’Neil, a suspected carjacker who was fleeing. Samayoa was subsequently dismissed from the police department, and the criminal charges were filed by Jenkins’ predecessor and political opponent, ousted former DA Chesa Boudin. 

Jenkins revisited the case when she took over from Boudin in 2022. Her office last week requested a dismissal, citing impropriety by her predecessor as well as conflicts of interest precluding her and her prosecutor from handling the case. She outlined her reasoning in a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta last month, and offered him the opportunity to take over the case. 

O’Neil’s aunt, April Green, and her attorney, Brian Ford, met with Bonta on Monday and were told that the statute of limitations was considerably longer than Jenkins had claimed — not nine days remain, but three years — and that the AG may not have received all the evidence in the case when it was handed to him by Jenkins’ office. This raised further questions about Jenkins’ handling of the case.  

The AG’s office denied Jenkins’ claims last week, stating in a letter to Ford that they did not constitute a recusable conflict of interest. 

With today’s continuance, the AG’s office still has not committed to take  over the case, but it now has at least the next three months to decide whether to do so. 

Ford said the AG’s request today “confirms that the AG is looking at this case very seriously.” 

“We are fully committed to this case, and we fully believe that upon an objective review of the facts and the law in this case, that Mr. Bonta and his office will see fit to continue this prosecution,” Ford said outside the courtroom on Tuesday morning.  

“I’m ecstatic. This is a great day,” said Green, who attended the hearing this morning. Green has been the advocate for her nephew since his mother has fallen ill, and recently has been suffering health problems herself. 

Green also took comfort in Judge Giorgi’s kindly words for her: “I want you to take this time now to rest, and do what you need to do to get well.”  

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. It seems to me Jenkins is heading in the direction of disbarment for unethical behavior? Isn’t making up stuff and concealing stuff grounds for this?

  2. If they want to spend the $2.5 million they got courtesy of their carjacker relative being killed on lawyers, that’s their prerogative. I hope they realize no court is going to order their legal fees to be paid for pursuing a prosecution.

    The real winner here is attorney Brian Ford.

    1. just as it is your prerogative to speak ill of the dead and the families who love them instead of supporting accountability and dare i say it… justice

    2. Nope. Growing up here in the 70’s and seeing police beat up Black and Gay people from my apartment window will make me a winner if police are finally held accountable.

      1. You must have seen Sandra Lee Fewer’s husband beating up people. We all saw that. Hilarious that the POA defended him and then she chanted against the POA.

    3. When the citizenry threw the hyper-political Boudin out of office, they voted for his hyper-political cases to be thrown out also.

  3. Perhaps the AG should step in and review the DA’s handling of all cases where SFPD has been charged with a crime?