A judge has denied a defense motion to recuse the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office from the case of a wheelchair-bound man who stabbed a police officer with a knife before being shot by officers in January.
Defense attorneys had argued that District Attorney George Gascon had a conflict of interest in prosecuting the case of Randal Dunklin since Gascon was San Francisco’s police chief when the incident occurred Jan. 4 in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.
Dunklin had allegedly been vandalizing parking meters and cars outside a Department of Public Health behavioral health services building near 10th and Howard streets prior to the officers’ arrival.
Police said they found Dunklin holding a buck knife and a large piece of cement. During a confrontation with one of the officers, Dunklin allegedly stabbed a 27-year-old male officer in the shoulder, police said.
Officers used pepper spray and a shotgun-fired bean-bag weapon in an attempt to subdue Dunklin, but the weapons had no effect, according to police.
The 27-year-old officer and another officer then opened fire on Dunklin after he allegedly threw the knife at officers. Defense attorneys have said he only threw the knife to his side before being shot.
Dunklin was hospitalized for a couple of weeks due to the shooting, and after being released from the hospital, he pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, one felony count of interfering with police, and a misdemeanor vandalism charge.
Defense attorneys had filed the motion asking Gascon to recuse himself from the case since he was police chief at the time, but San Francisco Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan ruled Friday that there was not evidence to support recusal in the case, according to the district attorney’s office.
Dunklin remains in custody on $340,000 bail, and has the preliminary hearing in the case scheduled for May 3.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News