San Francisco police union looks to block new use of force policy

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco police union is going to court to stop a new use of force policy that police commissioners approved last night. They're charging that the commission negotiated in bad faith, violating officers' rights.

Union President Martin Halloran says he's extremely disappointed, his words, in the police commission's actions last night. He says both sides had reached agreement on almost all the recommendations except for a couple of important ones which Halloran says the commissioners adopted unilaterally.

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"We will let a judge decide whether or not the commission should come back to the table to negotiate," said Martin Halloran, SFPOA President

The police union's decision to file for a temporary restraining order came after last night's vote by police commissioners. They approved the new use of force policy after 12 months of deliberation. The day before their meeting, the union filed a lawsuit against the city, charging that the commission engaged in bad faith negotiations, changing language that both sides had agreed in closed meetings. One of them, banning police from using a vascular neck hold called carotid restraints.

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"By removing this less lethal option, it could potentially force the officers into using the higher level of force. And that's certainly not what I want to see," said Halloran.

Halloran says they had agreed to keep the restraining technique until Tasers would be accepted. Also approved last night, officers will no longer be allowed to shoot at moving vehicles except under exceptional circumstances. Halloran says the language they agreed on during negotiations spelled out in more explicit terms the exceptions.

"We did work extensively with the union and we feel really good about that. We negotiated in good faith. We weren't able to reach agreements, but we moved forward in what the US Department of Justice said we needed to do," said Police Commission President Suzy Loftus.

It's now up to the new chief Bill Scott who was appointed just two days ago to implement this new use of force policy. It'll be the first time since 1995 that officers here will have to adjust to a new set of protocols.
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