Police raided a freelance journalist’s home early Friday morning with sledgehammers and guns drawn after he obtained a copy of a confidential police report that detailed how a well-known public defender died. When he then sold the story to local news stations, he was suddenly on their radar. It didn’t take long for the journalist to figure out what the officers were doing at his home — they wanted a name.
Bryan Carmody, a freelance journalist for the past three decades, was investigating the death of a prominent 59-year-old San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi when he was given a confidential police report by a source.
According to the LA Times, the report detailed that Adachi had dinner with a woman named “Caterina,” who was not his wife, and had planned to spend the weekend together. The two were at a nearby apartment when a 911 call was placed from the residence for paramedics to take Adachi to the hospital where he was pronounced dead from an overdose.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that there were “alcohol, cannabis-infused gummies and syringes believed to have been used by the paramedics,” found inside the apartment. It was originally reported he had died of a heart attack while traveling.
The San Francisco Police Department came under scrutiny when the report was leaked to the public, and an internal investigation was launched, which led them to Carmody’s door.
Earlier in the week, Carmody explained that two officers had already visited his home asking for him to release the name of the source who gave him the report. “Of course, I politely declined,” he said.
David Stevenson, a police spokesman, released a statement following the leak. “The citizens and leaders of the City of San Francisco have demanded a complete and thorough investigation into this leak, and this action represents a step in the process of investigating a potential case of obstruction of justice along with the illegal distribution of confidential police material.”
The search of Carmody’s home lasted over six hours. Carmody was in handcuffs the entire time officers searched, ultimately confiscating hard drives, notebooks computers, and CDs.
When Carmody originally saw the 10 police officers standing outside his front door, he told them they could not enter without a search warrant, which the officers then revealed they had. According to the San Franciso Examiner, the warrant was for a search of “stolen or embezzled” items.
“I knew what they wanted,” Carmody explained to The Times. “They wanted the name.” When his house search turned up empty, officers set their sights on the 49-year-old’s newsroom, which also revealed no clues to the source.
Carmody insisted he never paid his source for the report. His attorney estimated the police seized $30,000 to $40,000 worth of equipment, which has now left him without means to do his daily job.