Two weeks after he refused to reveal a confidential source to authorities, freelance journalist Bryan Carmody found himself in handcuffs for six hours while San Francisco police officers raided his home.
Officers were searching for a confidential police report that Carmody had in his possession, as well as any information on the source that provided Carmody with the document.
The police report contains information on the unexpected death of San Francisco public defender Jeff Adachi. Carmody had provided the report to local news stations along with other information related to Adachi’s death in February. Officers eventually found the report in a locked safe during a subsequent raid on Carmody’s home, after which Carmody was taken in for questioning.
“I knew what they wanted,” he said to The Los Angeles Times. “They wanted the name.” Despite being held in custody by the San Francisco Police Department, Carmody vowed to protect the identity of his source.
My home and business were raided by the SFPD and the FBI today. This is part of a campaign to make me divulge a confidential source. I will not. https://t.co/qa7uNjy4wy
— Bryan C. Carmody (@bryanccarmody) May 11, 2019
The raid was approved as part of a criminal investigation into potential obstruction of justice and illegal distribution of a confidential police report. The investigators’ warrant stated they were on the hunt for “stolen or embezzled property.”
“There’s only two people on this planet who know who leaked this report — me and the guy who leaked it,” Carmody said.
Carmody runs a small stringer operation providing Bay Area news tips to national outlets such as CBS, Fox News and CNBC. His office employed a handful of other journalists, all of whose electronics, equipment and documents were seized by police for further investigation.
Journalists and press advocates rallied behind Carmody as the news broke over the weekend. Some characterized the incident as an intimidation effort by police, highlighting that the officers came heavily armed and used a sledgehammer to smash open Carmondy’s front gate as he slept upstairs.
Let me get this straight, San Francisco police raided the home of a journalist to find out who in the police department leaked a copy of the police report into Jeff Adachi's death. https://t.co/7AnQ9poP0k
— Rebecca J. Kavanagh (@DrRJKavanagh) May 12, 2019
First Amendment goes missing in San Francisco : When a reporter would not betray his source, police came to his home with guns and a sledgehammer @MattHjourno https://t.co/aRWvE4vgr7
— Richard Winton (@LAcrimes) May 12, 2019
Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, called the search on Carmody’s home and office “shocking and potentially illegal.”
This is shocking and potentially illegal. How can the city of San Francisco possibly justify this? https://t.co/a50L3KObuX
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) May 11, 2019
The First Amendment Coalition, an advocacy group that has helped Carmody secure an attorney, said the raid was “unlawful [and] clearly contrary to CA law.”
Fox Business personality Lou Dobbs went as far as to call the move by police “full-on fascist.”
Leftist San Francisco Goes Full-On Fascist–SF has apparently suspended the Constitution: SF police raid home of journalist to find who leaked Adachi report – https://t.co/I1CswFDQCj #MAGA #AmericaFirst #Dobbs
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) May 12, 2019
Cover image courtesy of Bryan Carmody.