Nationally, San Francisco police have a reputation as lovable, fuzzy pussycats. That's according to the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the city's police union, who have traditionally resisted most any change to the way they do business out on the streets. But following a string of fatal police shootings that cost former police Chief Greg Suhr his job, S.F. cops are finally due for a policy change.
Last night, after a build-up of more than six months, the city's Police Commission finally approved some modest changes to city police's use-of-force policies. Various words in the use-of-force policy were swapped around — there was a debate over whether cops should use "minimal" force or "reasonable" force — and the new policy also forbids police from shooting at moving vehicles and applying a neck restraint called the "carotid artery hold," according to the San Francisco Examiner.
That all sounds reasonable enough. The compromise earned the praise of Mayor Ed Lee, who put police on notice that use-of-force would change following the Dec. 2 fatal shooting of Mario Woods. But the problem is none of it is final — and it could all blow up in everyone's faces.
Before the use-of-force policy is finalized, it must be reviewed one more time by the city's Department of Human Resources... and the POA. And the POA still has issue with "20 percent" of the policy, meaning the whole thing is potentially at risk, as the Chronicle reports.
Two key disagreements — the "carotid artery restraint," seen above, and police's ability to shoot at cars.