San Francisco police to revise use of force policy

Thursday, January 21, 2016
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San Francisco's use of force policy by its police department is being revamped after a recent fatal shooting.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's use of force policy by its police department is being revamped after a recent fatal shooting. Earlier today there was a hearing at city hall and tonight a meeting of the police commission to get community input.

Critics say the use of force policy is outdated. Members of the community gathered in the Western Addition neighborhood, at the Third Baptist Church, on Thursday evening to express what changes they would like to see. The city supervisors are looking into this as well.

VIDEO: San Francisco mayor releases initiative to reform use-of-force policy

"It's not just about changing the policies, it's about changing the culture," San Francisco Board of Supervisors president London Breed said.

The San Francisco Police Department's 20-year-old use of force policy is under scrutiny after the fatal officer involved shooting of Mario Woods. Cellphone video has many asking about alternatives, including Tasers and shields.

The emphasis from the experts at Thursday's city hall hearing was on de-escalation methods, like one of the recommendations from the Office of Citizen Complaints.

READ MORE: Protesters demand charges against SFPD officers who fatally shot Mario Woods

"...To establish written protocols for the department's crisis intervention team," Joyce Hicks from the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints said.

The captain in charge of the police academy says the training of new recruits regarding critical thinking now focuses on what he called "the sanctity of life."

"Should that life have been taken? What else could we have done? How else could we have slowed the situation down?" San Francisco Police Capt. Gregory Yee said.

READ MORE: SFPD officers who shot Mario Woods previously accused of excessive force

But as he spoke, a couple in the audience held protest signs and Supervisor David Campos was highly critical.

"How does it advance the sanctity of life that these officers are still on the payroll of San Francisco PD after what happened in the videos that we saw," Campos said.

The five officers involved have been placed on desk duty. And at Wednesday night's police commission hearing dozens of their colleagues turned out in a show of solidarity. Though boos and jeers of protesters drowned them out.

The Police Officer's Association says its members would not attend the Thursday night meeting. The next in this series of community meetings is in the Bayview next week.

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