Bail Fail
San Francisco

SFPD traffic stop turns up gang parolee with an automatic firearm

An SFPD traffic stop – executed after officers observed a driver speed through a stop sign – resulted in the arrest of a parolee gang member in possession of an automatic firearm. The driver was granted pretrial release.

Dequan Marshall was indicted by a federal grand jury this month on a charge of ‘being a felon in possession of a firearm’ stemming from the February 2023 incident.

He had been released from prison only four months earlier, having been convicted of ‘assault with a firearm’ after he tried to kill two people in 2017.

At a hearing on Wednesday morning U.S. Magistrate Judge Alex Tse ordered Marshall released on an unsecured bond in the amount of $50,000.

Marshall was pulled over by SFPD on February 22, 2023 for speeding through a four-way-stop intersection. He was visibly nervous, according to court documents, and dissembled about his identity. Officers ultimately learned who he was, and that he was on parole, at which point he fled and led police on a foot chase before being captured.

A visual inspection of the vehicle revealed a Glock 19 handgun on the driver’s side seat floor. The weapon had an extended magazine, loaded with 30 9mm rounds, and was equipped with an automatic fire switch. Subsequent test firing confirmed that the firearm was operable in fully automatic mode, said prosecutors.

DNA testing performed by the SFPD crime laboratory found that the defendant’s DNA was present on the cartridges loaded in the weapon.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Danbee Kim told the court that Marshall has a history of violence. He attempted to murder two people in October 2017 and was convicted of ‘assault with a firearm’. Sentenced to nine years imprisonment, during his incarceration he participated in the beating-to-unconsciousness of another inmate.

Marshall is a member of the Westmobb/Mobbstarz gang, a Hunters Point-based outfit which Kim says is “known for various acts of violence, firearms, robberies and narcotics trafficking.”

Describing him a as a danger to the community and a significant flight risk, prosecutors called for Marshall to be detained pending trial.

At the hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alex Tse pressed Kim to explain what it was about Marshall’s latest arrest that demonstrated he was a danger to the public and should be kept in custody.  

“So he’s in possession of the gun, so those are the facts,” said Tse. “But he’s not shooting at people. I’m not saying that’s the only reason I would detain, but that’s what I want to focus on.”  

Kim pointed out that the gun had been modified to fire automatically and was immediately to hand in the vehicle.  

“That’s good for your 922g,” Tse replied, referring to a firearms possession charge, “but that doesn’t necessarily answer the question: what is the danger that is posed by this particular weapon?”  

Ultimately Tse determined that Marshall could be released on an unsecured $50,000 bond with his girlfriend acting as surety. He will be initially confined to her home in Oakland and electronically monitored.

In January the San Francisco Police Commission curbed officers’ ability to stop vehicles for several “low-level” traffic offenses, such as expired registration tags or broken brake lights. Commissioners’ claimed that these “[p]retext stops are disproportionately carried out against people of color and return negligible public safety benefits.”

The traffic infraction identified by police in this case was not on the forbidden list.

Marshall will next appear before U.S. District Judge Trina Thompson on August 25.

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