Bryan Carmody, a freelance reporter in San Francisco, awoke Friday to the sounds of someone trying to break into his house.
About 10 officers from the San Francisco Police Department were bashing the front gate of his home in the Outer Richmond neighborhood with a sledgehammer, he said. It was just after 8 o’clock in the morning.
Carmody called out and said he would let them into the house. The officers showed him a search warrant and proceeded to go through his home — from “top to bottom” he says — with their guns drawn.
“They treated me like I was some kind of drug dealer,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
Carmody was being raided in connection with a criminal investigation.
Two weeks before, police investigators showed up at his home to ask him, politely he says, to identify the source who provided him with a confidential police report about the February death of the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi. Carmody, who said he worked with three local television news stations on the story, declined.
He wasn’t about to give up his source on Friday either, despite the escalation — not to the police or two FBI agents in suits who questioned him about the case, he said.
“I’m smart enough not to talk to federal agents, ever,” Carmody said. “I just kept saying ‘lawyer, lawyer, lawyer.’ ”
So he stayed handcuffed for the next six hours, he says — a certificate of release from the police department that he distributed says he was in custody from 8:22 a.m. until 1:55 p.m. — as investigators searched his home, then his office, where they found the report in a safe. A search warrant filed in the case notes that it was issued as police investigated “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.
The raid on Carmody’s home and office drew wide First Amendment-related attention in the Bay Area over the weekend. And it added a new twist to the intrigue that surrounded the death of Adachi, who had built up a high profile as a public defender in the 16 years he had held the office.