February 25, 2009
The San Francisco Police Department wishes to clarify certain public statements that have been made regarding the death of Hugues De la Plaza that occurred on June 2, 2007.
The French police never took over the case with the sanction of the U. S. Department of Justice, as has been publicly stated. It is simply policy, through international treaty, to report the case to DOJ. The San Francisco Police Department never declares deaths as homicides or suicides, and has never ruled the death as suspicious, as has been publicly stated. It is the Medical Examiner's Office, not the police department, that determines a death as homicide, suicide, or death by natural causes. In this case, the Medical Examiner's Office concluded that the manner of Mr. De la Plaza's death was undetermined.
Although the Medical Examiner's Office has classified Mr. De la Plaza's death as an undetermined death, the police department handles and investigates all undetermined deaths as if they were homicides.
It has been reported that the French investigating magistrate concluded that Mr. De la Plaza's death was a homicide. Two of our most experienced investigators have been unable to respond to the French findings because we as yet have not been afforded the opportunity to review those findings, which had been communicated to Mr. de la Plaza's family. A formal request for the French investigative file and their official conclusion is in progress.
San Francisco investigators continue to investigate the death in an impartial and far from lackluster manner, as was publicly reported. The San Francisco Police Department anticipates reviewing the French investigative documents once they are received and to continue to work with our French colleagues.
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA. 94103