As Use-of-Force Policy Stalls, SF Officials Blame Police Union

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The San Francisco police union came under fire Tuesday at a special joint meeting of the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors, with supervisors, commissioners and members of the public criticizing the union’s refusal to budge on a new use-of-force policy that was developed following the fatal shooting of Mario Woods by five city police officers, reports the city’s Chronicle. While the special hearing was meant to reaffirm the local commitment to police reform in the uncertainty of how a Trump administration could affect such efforts, several supervisors accused the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) of already standing in the way of reform. Supervisor Aaron Peskin noted that the union filed a grievance regarding the use-of-force policy, which could lead to arbitration and extend an already lengthy waiting period to put in place new directives that more strongly regulate officers’ decisions during perilous encounters and puts an emphasis on using minimal force.

He said the union “has an outsized influence on the department and its behavior and the behavior of the men and women in the department.” “What steps are being taken to make the POA a sentient, 21st century organization that does not hark back to the 1950s with the kind of behavior that we still see going on?” Peskin asked. Martin Halloran, union president, did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday night. The controversial shooting of Woods last Dec. 2 prompted development of a new policy to reduce the use of lethal force. The Police Commission approved the rules in June, but the policy has been stuck in negotiations between the police union and the city since then.

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