Responding to San Jose Mercury News articles raising concerns about the use of force by local police officers, Police Chief Rob Davis announced new layers of internal review to guard against officers’ misusing their fists, batons, Tasers, and guns to subdue suspects. Even as the chief announced new internal boards of officers, and Mayor Chuck Reed expressed “significant concerns about how and when force is used,” critics and outside observers expressed skepticism that any new reviews by the police themselves would be credible.
“It’s the fox guarding the chicken house,” said Peter Keane, Golden Gate University law professor who was formerly a San Francisco police commissioner. He added of internal review panels: “You can’t expect them to come up with any meaningful review. ” The Mercury News reported its own detailed review of the police use of force showed repeated instances in which incidents that began over seemingly-innocuous situations, such as jaywalking and missing bike lights, ended with police using force, often the first blow, against suspects they believed uncooperative and potentiallydangerous.