A woman and man hold signs that read "Justice for Sean Moore" and "Justice for the families of victims of police murder"
Sean Moore's mother, Cleo Moore, and brother, Kenneth Blackmon, wait for a court hearing to begin. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan

A San Francisco judge accepted yet another delay in the case against the San Francisco police officer who shot and killed Sean Moore, reneging on her promise last month that she would not allow any additional delays. 

Scott Burrell, the defense attorney for Officer Kenneth Cha, said he needs additional time, and plans to file two defense motions, one of which blames “irregularities in the prosecution of the case” under former District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who originally brought the case.

The District Attorney’s Office, now under the helm of Boudin’s recall campaign opponent DA Brooke Jenkins, did not respond to the accusations of irregularities and did not oppose the delay. 

“I was hoping today … would be the last time, no matter what the circumstances were,” said Moore’s mother, Cleo Moore, 84, in the courthouse hallway afterwards. “I prepare myself to get this out of my life — I can’t. Why? Why are they doing this?” 

The voluntary manslaughter case is only the second homicide case in San Francisco history to be brought against a police officer. Last week, Jenkins dropped the other manslaughter case, also citing impropriety by Boudin’s office. 

That former officer, Christopher Samayoa, was fired from the police department after the shooting, and the city paid $2.5 million to the family of victim Keita O’Neil. 

In 2017, Cha responded to a noise complaint at Moore’s home in Oceanview when he shot Moore, who had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In 2020, Moore died, and his death was ruled a homicide by way of a gunshot wound. Moore’s family received $3.25 million from the city in a settlement after filing a civil suit alleging wrongful death. 

Rebecca Young, the attorney representing the Moore family and a former prosecutor who handled the case in the DA’s office under Boudin, said she had expected Cha’s attorney to file a motion to dismiss the case. 

“I don’t know what improprieties they could possibly be talking about,” Young said. “He’s had the case for six years … now, all of a sudden, we have improprieties.” 

Young added that the DA’s office under Jenkins has “no inclination to resist” the delay and called San Francisco Superior Court Judge Loretta M. Giorgi, who last month promised Moore’s mother that she would accept no additional delays, a pushover.  

Sean Moore’s mother, Cleo Moore, speaks out on the courthouse steps. Photo by Eleni Balakrishnan.

Cha’s attorney also plans to file a motion to throw out findings from a separate case against Moore, involving the same 2017 incident in which Moore was shot. In that case, a judge found that Cha and his partner were trespassing on Moore’s property and did not have the right to arrest him. Moore could be seen on the officers’ body-worn cameras asking the officers, repeatedly, to leave. 

Burrell said Friday that he wants to ensure that the rulings and decisions in that case are excluded from Cha’s prosecution. 

On the courthouse steps after Friday’s hearing, supporters gathered with banners and signs to blast the DA’s office, criticizing the city for not valuing the lives of people with mental illness. 

“This is a searing indictment of the entire system that responds to mental illness, to poverty, to social problems with cages, guns and incarceration,” said Yoel Haile, the Director of the Criminal Justice Program at the ACLU of Northern California. “This is not the kind of society we want to live in.” 

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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. A well written article. With a palpable sense of what WE in society live through everyday with that ” John Wayne Mentality” of cops these days in these dis-united states. BASTA!

  2. 3,2,1. This case will be dismissed by the end of the year. End of the ongoing SFDAs office saga.