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Home Featured Body camera footage appears to contradict SFPD’s version of the shooting

Body camera footage appears to contradict SFPD’s version of the shooting

Acting Chief Toney Chaplin insists officers showed "incredible restraint" while dealing with Sean Moore, who is mentally ill.

Still shot from the police body camera footage released by the Public Defender's office.

The San Francisco Police body camera footage from the officer involved shooting on Jan 6th appears to contradict some of the official claims made earlier. 

This is the first body camera footage from a shooting incident that has been made public and was released by the Public Defender’s office. 

Sean Moore, 43,  who has been held on $2 million bail and faces a several felony charges, was shot twice – in the groin and the stomach – and was hospitalized. Moore is mentally ill and suffers from bipolar schizophrenia. Charges against Moore include assaulting a police officer, making criminal threats & resisting arrest.

The Public Defender’s office is asking for all charges to be dropped against Moore. The body camera footage shows officers at first attempting to speak to Moore but quickly resorting to aggressive behavior before attempting to pepper spray him, hit him with a baton and shooting him twice. From the beginning Moore responded to officers in an aggressive manner; he can be seen cursing them and asking them to leave his premises. 

Moore’s mother, Cleo Moore, who has worked as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital said the incident “didn’t have to happen this way if the officers had been trained on how to take care of mentally ill patients,” she said. 

“My son isn’t a vicious person he is struggling everyday with mental illness,” Mrs Moore said. 

“The most important part of the video is that Mr Moore is retreating when he is struck and Officer Cha is approaching towards him,” said Moore’s attorney Brian Pearlman. This appears to contradict the statements issued by the SFPD that Moore was approaching towards them when he was shot. 

SFPD’s version as of last week: 

According to Capt. McEachern, two officers from the Taravel station responded to a call made from an individual who claimed that his neighbor was violating a restraining order. The individual said that the neighbor (Moore) was banging on their homes’ shared wall. 

The officers arrived 515 Capitol Ave. at 4:15 a.m. on Jan. 6, and began discussing the restraining order with Moore. According McEachern, Moore didn’t respond to the officers’ attempt to explain the restraining order to him: “There were verbal profanities being yelled (by Mr. Moore)”, and McEachern said Moore didn’t respond to questions asked of him by the two officers. 

According to McEachern, things escalated when Moore allegedly grabbed and pulled the restraining order from the hands of one of the officers. This is when, according to McEachern, the officer’s partner pepper sprayed Moore in the face, which resulted in Moore allegedly kicking an officer in the face. The officer sustained bruises. 

At this point officers moved into arrest him and one officer hit him with a baton: “Moore punched the officer in the face, and advanced on the second officer, who fired his weapon as he was retreating down the steps.”

According to SFPD, it took an hour for the tactical team to break down the door and take Moore to the hospital. According to both Moore’s family and SFPD Moore was bleeding profusely during this time and his apartment was covered in blood.


The most pressing discrepancy that is apparent in the video is police statement that Mr Moore charged at them. Body camera video shows Moore retracting back to his house as Officer Cha goes towards Moore. 

Before the shooting, the officers can be heard giving several confusing directions to Moore. They announce that he’s under arrest and ask if he understands that, while at another point they ask him to come out of his house so they can call the ambulance for him. 

Moore’s mother says that the police had been to the house several times and knew about Moore’s mental health condition. Attorney Pearlman said that the Public Defender’s office is trying to get their hands on a police report that was filed earlier which mentions Moore’s illness. 

A quick look at records of restraining orders issued against Moore reveal that several complaints had been filed starting from one of the first restraining orders issued in 2014. 

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that the officers violated the Police Department’s body camera policy by viewing the body camera footage before they made their initial statement. Acting SFPD Chief Toney Chaplin denied that later at a press conference.

De-escalation when dealing with the mentally ill:

The San Francisco Police Department has been under immense pressure since the 2015 fatal shooting of Mario Woods in the Bayview neighborhood. 

The Police Commission deliberated for several months and revised the Police Department’s use-of-force policy for the first time since 1995. The revised use-of-force policy puts more emphasis on de-escalation. 

Adachi insisted that the officers could have handled the situation better: “This is a situation where Mr. Moore did not have to be shot. If the officers had used de-escalation techniques, they could have gone home.” 

However, acting Chief Toney Chaplin insisted that the officers showed “great restraint”  as they were were dealing with a large suspect with an unknown object in his hand who was at a physical advantage as he stood on top of the stairs. 

Adachi said the body camera video reveals that Moore was visibly agitated from the start and that the officers didn’t spend enough time de-escalting the situation:  “It’s pretty significant – based on the evidence and the video tape – that crisis intervention team was not called at any point. Clearly, once the officers had gone back to the bottom of the stairs that was a point, for example, that the crisis intervention could have and should have been called. Instead the officers went up the stairs and clearly escalated the situation because they took out their batons, they’re clearly dealing with somebody who is clearly agitated,” he said. 

Adachi said officers are meant to be trained in de-escalation and are meant to call crisis intervention in case they aren’t trained. 

 “There’s obviously a big gap between what the officers are being told at the academy and what is being done at the street,” he said. 

With special thanks to the Examiner’s Jonah Owen Lamb for providing audio recordings of the police press conference. 




  1. I am a woman of color. I’m happy as can be. Trust that none of the people you think you know better than (ie people of color like myself) are fine as well as everyone else. Have a great day! I’m having the BEST DAY EVER.

  2. I don’t know if there is a feature in the police dispatch system that flags someone or addresses with known mental health issues. If there is then the dispatcher could have sent a specially trained team.

    Of course it’s extremely unfortunate that somebody got shot. But it’s also unfortunate that two officers were also bloodied. And at the end of the day we have restraining orders for a reason and we also need to have a way to enforce them. In a perfect world when the police approached someone to serve a restraining order he wouldn’t tell them to f*ck off and go away. So we need to find a better way to deal with that imperfection.

    These are complicated issues. The last thing we need is the 48 Hills/Sana “journalism” that tells everyone that the cops are 100% at fault at all times and that the videos show things that they actually don’t (because not everyone takes the time to view the tapes to see that 48 Hills isn’t telling the truth). In the era of fake news, I don’t think Sana understands fully the harm that she does.

  3. It’s a shame this man was shot. Seems like a case where a tazer would be a great option but this blog has fought hard against giving police tazers. I’m guessing here but I’m not sure they meant to shoot him, almost seems like the two shots popped off in the heat of the scuffle.

    I’m not sure how the cops are supposed to determine this man is mentally ill. All I see is an angry person who yells fuck you, bitch, faggot, etc. From the tape, it’s clear he:
    Threatens the officers
    Kicks the officers, grabs a paper out of the officers hand
    Refuses to comply when they tell him he’s under arrest

    So he’s clearly committed “assaulting a police officer, making criminal threats & resisting arrest.” Whether the extenuating circumstances are enough for a jury to let him off is exactly what juries are for.

  4. when i tried to watch this i got stuck in an endless loop. would barely play–just a lot of stopping stopping stopping. took me about 20 minutes to even be able to force-quit my computer. what the heck?! (makes me paranoid as hell.)

  5. Since you two are in favor of shooting people, why not start with each other? This could provide others with a pleasant respite from your asinine trolling.

  6. What isn’t discussed is that the PD ejected Sana from the press conference, they said, because she doesn’t have the ‘proper credentials,’ credentials that they’ve never ask for before.

    That makes me think that 48 Hills and Sana are doing a good job.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. This article is poorly written with missing words, missing punctuation and poor choice of words. Where was the editing? I stopped reading after the first few paragraphs even though this story is important.

  8. Just one note here: there is NO such illness as bipolar schizophrenia. These are 2 very separate disorders. Sometimes during mania there can be psychosis like what is seen in schizophrenia for some people; these are separate disorders. It’s important to understand this if you’re writing about it.

  9. Before the shooting, the officers can be heard giving several confusing directions to Moore. They announce that he’s under arrest and ask if he understands that, while at another point they ask him to come out of his house so they can call the ambulance for him.

    And that’s confusing? How?

    The unknown object Chaplin is referring to is clearly seen in the video as torn copy of the restraining order

    That part can be clearly seen only if you are wearing Sana goggles. For anyone else the thing that he has in his hand is black and the restraining order is white and on the steps and few feet in front of him.

    You can see for yourself at the 8 minute mark of the video: https://sfbay.ca/2017/01/18/body-camera-video-released-of-sean-moore-shooting/

    It also seems to be impossible to verify that he was retreating when he got shot.

    Also, if I had a son who was physically imposing (6 feet 210 lbs at least) who had mental health issues that had necessitated several police interventions…I would have taken the time to go down to the station and make sure that they had complete information as well as a way to contact me if there were any future problems. If his mother did this, good for her. But there is no indication that she did.

  10. I think the police did show restraint. I never see those who complain offering to become a cop, and I doubt any would, and risk their lives, to a higher degree than the already very high degree they do anyway, just to make sure in situations like this: a crazy felon, getting issued a restraining order, not listening at all to the police or responding to deterrents by them, is handled continually gingerly while the cops have good reason the whole time to feel very, very unsafe (as anyone would by this guy’s actions). And, if Moore ended up shooting some paserby while all this was happening,, some would be screaming that the cops should have known to take action, shoot Moore, before some innocent passerby’s injured.

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