View imageThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors today approved two large lawsuit settlements totaling $14.5 million, one to two men wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years for murder, and the other for two forest fires the federal government alleged the city was responsible for.
Both settlements were approved unanimously by the board this afternoon.
A $7.5 million settlement was awarded to John Tennison and Antoine Goff, convicted in San Francisco Superior Court in 1990 of first-degree murder for the gang-related shooting of Roderick “Cooley” Shannon.
Shannon was shot Aug. 19, 1989 in a supermarket parking lot in the city’s Visitacion Valley neighborhood. Police believed the murder was related to an ongoing dispute between gangs in the Sunnydale and Hunters Point areas.
A federal judge in Oakland in 2003 found that prosecutors had suppressed evidence in the case, granted Tennison’s appeal and released him from prison. Goff was released the same year after a superior court judge in San Francisco vacated his conviction.
The suppressed evidence included a post-trial, but pre-sentencing, confession to police by another man, Lovinsky Ricard, that he had committed the murder.
In 2004, both men filed civil rights lawsuits against the city.
The city attorney’s office has said the settlement was “weighed against the costs and risks of further litigation.”
Tennison received $4.6 million and Goff $2.9 million.
A $7 million settlement was given to the federal government for two forest fires, in 1999 and 2004, in Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County.
The federal government said the fires were caused by city-owned power lines along the Hetch Hetchy water system, and sued in 2005 and 2007, according to the city attorney’s office.
The city agreed to the settlement, although the cause of the fires was undetermined, the city attorney’s office said.