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A shooting by police officers of a homeless man camping on Shotwell Street near 18th Street occurred in the Mission Thursday, April 7. On Friday, the Medical Examiner identified the victim as 45-year-old Luis Gongora, a San Francisco resident. This shooting happened less than 24 hours after a late-night Police Commission meeting at which members of the Police Officers Association fought against changes to the Department General Order concerning use of force.
Santa Cruz County is seen by many as a model for enlightened jail and prison policies. But last month the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report on the unusual number of deaths in the county jail in 2012 and 2013 titled “Five Deaths in Santa Cruz: An Investigation of In-Custody Deaths.” The Grand Jury found that a lack of after-hours mental health evaluations and failures to follow procedures on the part of jail staff likely contributed to the deaths.
Police Chief Greg Suhr and the SF Police Commission finally scheduled and held the required community forums, where Suhr and Comdrs. Richard Corriea and Mikail Ali described the Electronic Control Weapon (ECW) proposal and invited community input. This updated story includes a report on the Tenderloin community forum, organized by residents. All testimony was anti-taser.
A Dec. 4, 2012, ACLU letter to SF Mayor Ed Lee urged rejecting any SFPD proposal “to deploy tasers or other conductive energy devices”. The letter emphasizes that costly tasers would generate heavy legal fees from officer overuse and abuse, posing serious injury and death risks, especially to SFPD’s targeted populations: people in public mental health crisis and people of color.
Police Chief Greg Suhr scheduled six community forums in September and October to discuss tasers replacing guns in mental health crisis situations. When a citizen group kept showing up at hearings asking questions about hundreds of taser deaths and maimings and supporting SFPD Crisis Intervention Team training in verbal de-escalation, Chief Suhr cancelled the community forums.