San Francisco’s police chief to ask officials for Tasers

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Mayor Ed Lee’s statement on police shooting irks union leader.

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s police chief wants city officials to arm his department with Tasers amid continued protests over the shooting death of a knife-wielding suspect last week.SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Activists crowded San Francisco City Hall Wednesday night, vowing to take over the scheduled police commission meeting to protest last week’s deadly officer-involved shooting in the Bayview.

SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco police officers union issued a statement Tuesday defending five unnamed officers who shot and killed an allegedly armed man in the city’s Bayview District last week. Another shows five officers firing their weapons as Woods is seen holding his left side, limping down a sidewalk along a wall and appearing to show him approaching an officer with gun drawn who is walking toward Woods.

Vigils and protests following Woods’ death have emphasized the public’s desire for police officers to de-escalate violent situations rather than using lethal force. “They have a knife, we’ve got guns. Halloran echoed Mayor Ed Lee and Chief Greg Suhr’s call for officers to be equipped with Tasers, an idea that has failed several times amid public controversy over the safety of the devices. Woods was fatally shot by police while wielding a knife on Third Street near Fitzgerald Avenue, near a T-Third Street San Francisco Municipal Railway stop. Police Commissioner Joe Marshall, who was on hand with the mayor, later told reporters, “The fact that one officer fired, then all the other officers fired, is what has the community up in arms.

It’s about saving a life that doesn’t have to be lost if we can use alternatives,” Lee told KPIX’s Phil Matier Wednesday. “If someone has a knife and is advancing on you, you don’t start out with pepper spray,” said Police Union President Martin Halloran “You start out with a fire arm. The request comes in the wake of last Wednesday’s fatal shooting of 26-year-old Mario Woods in the city’s Bayview neighborhood that was captured on two video clips, both circulated widely online.

Shocking as the images were of police circling and then gunning down Woods, a black man, it went largely unnoticed that the officer who first stood in Woods’ path and took aim at him was himself African American, according to police sources. Police said Woods was a suspect in a stabbing of a victim who arrived at San Francisco General Hospital at about 3:50 p.m. on Dec. 2 and said he had been stabbed near the corner of Third Street and Le Conte Avenue. However, Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the Bayview, said there is clear frustration in the African American community no matter the color of the officers. “This is not a black-white issue.

This is a classic power struggle — those that have power were exercising power over the powerless, and that transcends race and class,” Cohen said. Painting the town: San Jose is adding a bit of splash to its downtown by turning two Highway 87 underpasses into dazzling artworks — complete with painted murals, LED lighting and sensors that allow passersby to interact with the exhibits.

It’s part of the city’s push to make downtown “look and feel like the capital of Silicon Valley,” said San Jose public arts director Jennifer Easton. Non-lethal force was used numerous times, including pepper spray along with the deployment of bean bags.” “With innocent bystanders nearby and the erratic behavior of the subject, the threat to life was imminent. If all goes well, don’t be surprised to start seeing psychedelic underpasses sprouting up all over the place — and not just in the South Bay’s capital. He said that according to federal court rulings the officers did not even need to exhaust every alternative before they could legally resort to deadly force, but that it appears the officers did anyway.

Even as San Francisco wraps up its approvals of the Warriors’ proposed arena, the small but well-financed opposition from the Mission Bay Alliance is promising to take its fight to court — and maybe even the ballot box. The alliance, which is made up of a handful of deep-pocketed UCSF benefactors, is expected to file at least two lawsuits to stop the $1 billion-plus arena from being built next to the university’s medical center at Mission Bay. Following calls from the community to de-escalate police confrontations, Suhr said he is equipping police officers with 60 protective shields — 10 for each of the department’s six districts — and is looking toward increasing training for officers in de-escalation tactics, joining the national program Re-Engineering Training on Police Use of Force. The other would seek to invalidate the memorandum of understanding signed by UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood and Warriors officials that allows the arena to block the medical center’s views of the bay in exchange for the team agreeing to parking and traffic improvements.

Amos Brown, president of the local NAACP branch, said the police chief should do a more vigorous effort to recruit African American and Latino officers.

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