San Francisco police say video of cop attacked highlights need for less-lethal tools

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco supervisors held a hearing Tuesday on the police department's "use of force" policy. The hearing come just weeks after an incident was caught on video showing a civilian coming to the rescue of an officer being attacked.

Police told the board that they're implementing recommended reforms as fast as they can. About a quarter of all its uniformed cops are now being trained.

Cellphone video taken two weeks ago shows an officer wrestling with a homeless man who was said to be exposing himself. The man overpowered the officer who needed the assistance of civilians to make the arrest.

RAW VIDEO: Civilians help SF cop during attack:
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San Francisco police say civilians had to come to the rescue of an officer who was attacked by a homeless man in March 2017.

"He told me it would have been to his advantage if he had either the carotid restraint or Tasers available to him," San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran.

But they weren't. The police commission banned a vascular neck hold called carotid restraints. And Tasers still have not been approved.

There are still lots of other reforms that are being implemented.

The supervisors heard new Police Chief William Scott's report on the progress of department-wide reforms, which were made by the U.S. Justice Department, a blue ribbon committee, and the civil grand jury.

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"I want to know how the police department is going to prioritize almost 400 recommendations, over 200 that come from the Department of Justice," said SF Supervisor Malia Cohen.

The priorities so far are new use of force guidelines and crisis intervention.

"We have very strict guidelines," said SFPD Deputy Chief Michael Connolly. "We want to get everyone trained on our current use of force policy implemented by the end of summer."

The department also wants officers to go through crisis intervention classes by summer's end. That's on top of their training for other reforms. It's a balancing act, with the scheduling of officers going to classes and those working the streets.

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The SFPD currently has a force of some 2,200 uniformed officers. Many are enrolled in classes.

"I'd say probably close to a quarter of the personnel are in training,"

But the department says public safety has not been compromised to make way for the training.
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