DA Boudin Announces the Historic Filing of Homicide Charges Against the Former Police Officer Who Shot and Killed Keita O’Neil


Rachel Marshall / (415) 416-4468 / Rachel.Marshall@sfgov.org 

SAN FRANCISCO–Today, District Attorney Boudin announced that the District Attorney’s Office has filed homicide charges against former San Francisco Police Department Officer Chris Samayoa, who fatally shot Keita O’Neil in December of 2017.  The homicide occurred before District Attorney Boudin’s election and remained under investigation when District Attorney Boudin took office.  Following a careful review of the case, the District Attorney’s Office filed a warrant for Chris Samayoa’s arrest, which a judge signed on Saturday, November 21, 2020.  Today, the District Attorney’s Office formally filed charges of Voluntary Manslaughter; Involuntary Manslaughter; Assault with a Semiautomatic Firearm; Assault by a Police Officer; and Discharge of a Firearm with Gross Negligence against former Officer Samayoa.  The case is believed to be the first homicide prosecution against a law enforcement officer in San Francisco history.

“For too long, we have seen the failures of our legal system to hold police accountable for the violence committed against the members of the public they are entrusted to keep safe.  In my administration, police officers are not above the law,” said District Attorney Boudin.  “Police officers are obligated to follow the law when using force—even when responding to serious crimes.  As District Attorney, I will continue to hold accountable officers who inflict unlawful violence and breach the trust the public places in them.”

On December 1, 2017, San Francisco Police Department Officers Edric Talusan and Chris Samayoa  followed a suspect thought to have carjacked a California State Lottery minivan.  Officer Talusan, who was driving, and Officer Samayoa, who was in the passenger seat, observed and followed the van through the Bayview District.  After following the van a few blocks, the van reached a dead-end street, and 42 year-old Keita O’Neil jumped out and began to run on foot. 

As other patrol cars closed in on him and blocked his path, Mr. O’Neil ran past the police car where Officer Samayoa was seated in the passenger seat.  Officer Samayoa pointed his gun and shot Mr. O’Neil through the passenger side window of the patrol car, killing Mr. O’Neil. 

Mr. O’Neil had no weapon on him.  His cause of death was determined to be a homicide.

Although Officer Samayoa failed to turn on his body camera until after shooting Mr. O’Neil, Officer Samayoa’s camera nonetheless captured video of the shooting because body cameras automatically record the 30 seconds prior to their activation.

Officer Samayoa was terminated from his position as a San Francisco Police Department Officer as a result of this incident. 

District Attorney Boudin informed Mr. O’Neil’s family of the decision on Monday morning.  April Green, Mr. O’Neil’s aunt, expressed gratitude and said, “I am happy to hear this news, and hoping it brings some justice to our family.”

Supervisor Shamann Walton, whose District includes the area where this crime occurred, is hopeful about District Attorney Boudin’s decision to prosecute.  “Bayview residents deserve to know that law enforcement officers who inflict violence and harm in our community will be held accountable,” he said.  “This prosecution is an important, historic step towards showing that Black lives matter and that unlawful police violence will not be tolerated.”

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