NPR

Did A Bail Reform Algorithm Contribute To This San Francisco Man's Murder?

The July murder of photographer Ed French, is raising questions and concerns about a pretrial risk assessment computer tool used by a growing number of county and city courts.
Edward French, 71, was killed in San Francisco on July 11. One of the murder suspects was arrested two weeks before his death for gun possession and parole violations. The suspect was released based on a "public-safety assessment score" — a computer generated score that helps calculate whether a suspect is a flight risk or likely to return to court. Source: Courtesy of Brian Higginbotham

In the dawn hours of July 16, Edward French, a professional film and TV scout and avid photographer, stood atop Twin Peaks, the famed San Francisco hillside with its panoramic views of his hometown.

French, 71, had his camera with him, as he always did.

"He knew beautiful places. He was trying to catch the sunrise coming up Sunday morning, especially the way the city's skyline is changing," says Brian Higginbotham, French's longtime partner.

"I'm sure he was just up there sitting against the wall taking that classic shot you see down Market Street with the East Bay in the distance."

That's when, it is alleged, 19-year-old Lamonte Mims and 20-year-old Fantasy Decuir accosted French, stole his camera, and shot him with a handgun.

Prosecutors have said they have video surveillance evidence that Decuir pulled the trigger while Mims robbed the photographer.

A nearby jogger heard

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