2 San Francisco officers charged with destroying evidence
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Two San Francisco police officers and a retired officer working part-time at the department have been charged in two separate cases with destroying evidence, stealing a machine gun and other charges, authorities announced Tuesday.
Officers Kevin Patrick Lyons and Kevin Sien were called to the Marriott Marquis Hotel on July 3, 2021, after employees found multiple credit cards, identification cards and suspected drugs in the luggage of a guest who had been locked out of his room for lack of payment.
But instead of collecting the items as evidence, Lyons and Sien shredded the credit cards and IDs and Lyons flushed the alleged drugs down a hotel toilet, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
They allegedly told hotel staff that cataloging the evidence would take too long, the office said.
Both officers, who turned themselves in to authorities Tuesday, have been charged with destroying evidence. Their attorneys didn’t immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.
“San Francisco residents trust the police to conduct the investigative work so my office can bring cases that keep the city safe,” District Attorney Chesa Boudin said. “These officers undermined their own colleagues, my office, and our criminal justice system as a whole by destroying and concealing the evidence of a crime, simply because they didn’t want to take the time to do their jobs.”
The union representing both officers said the facts of the case will show the charges were not warranted.
“We encourage everyone to remember that these individuals are presumed innocent until proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt,” Tracy McCray, acting president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association said in a statement.
In a separate case, retired San Francisco Police Officer Mark Williams was charged with unlawful possession of a machine gun, possession of a silencer, and embezzlement after he allegedly removed a submachine gun from the department’s evidence room, where he was working part-time, the DA’s office said.
In August, police department staffers were doing an inventory of the property control division when they found a firearm was missing. The department launched an investigation, found Williams was in possession of the missing weapon and officials immediately terminated him from his part-time job, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.
Last week, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest. Williams, too, turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday, officials said.
His attorney, Anthony Brass, said Williams retired from the department in 2017 and admits taking the gun but that the gun was missing some parts and didn’t work and he never tried to make it operational.
“He simply took the weapon home for his own curiosity and he very much realizes that decision was a poor one and is appropriately remorseful for having created this situation,” Brass said.
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said the officers’ actions violate the law and “fall far short of our department’s shared values.”
“As sworn police officers, we have no higher obligation than to earn and maintain public trust, and we are disappointed that these incidents detract from the outstanding work done by our officers and non-sworn members every day,” Scott said.