Former SFPD officer pleads not guilty to charges in 2017 fatal shooting

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (BCN) – A former San Francisco police officer on Monday pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and other charges in connection with a 2017 police shooting in the city’s Bayview neighborhood that left a man dead.   

Last month, District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced his office had charged former officer Christopher Samayoa with voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, assault by an officer, and negligent discharge of a firearm for the Dec. 1, 2017 officer-involved shooting that killed 42-year-old Keita O’Neal.   

During Samayoa’s Monday arraignment in court, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Samayoa remains out of custody and is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 26.   

“As this case progresses, the court, perhaps even the DA, certainly a jury, will see that Chris Samayoa, a native San Franciscan, is not a reckless, cavalier trigger-happy rookie,” Samayoa’s attorney Julia Fox said in an email. “Rather, he is a thoughtful and measured young man who acted by drawing from his training and whose only aspiration was and remains a desire to serve his San Francisco community.”   

Samoyoa had only been on the force for four days at the time of the shooting.   

According to prosecutors, Samayoa shot O’Neal as Samayoa was in a patrol vehicle and an unarmed O’Neal was running on foot. O’Neal, who officers had suspected of carjacking a minivan, later died at the hospital from his injuries.   

Samayoa’s case marks the first time a San Francisco district attorney has filed such charges against an on-duty officer. However, just this month, Boudin’s office has charged two more officers in separate cases.   

Earlier this month, a grand jury indicted Officer Christopher Flores in connection with a 2019 Mission District officer-involved shooting that left a man in critical condition. Prosecutors also charged Officer Terrance Stangel with battery and assault in connection with an October 2019 encounter in the city’s Fisherman’s Wharf area that left a man with a broken leg and wrist.

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