tv [untitled] February 27, 2011 5:00pm-5:30pm PST
come on and. >> i was in the child care room with my daughter. thank you, commission, for allowing us the time to speak tonight. i would most like to reiterate some of the concerns that people have expressed tonight. tasers do kill. they are not always less than lethal. we cannot afford the liabilities they cause. we cannot afford the loss of life that are potential to cause. we cannot afford the increase in injuries to people that tasers would cause. people on the street are already afraid of the police. this was probably the reason for some of the escalations we see in the first place. tactics police use on the street are very confronteive, and not deescalationary.
i commend this commission for voting to put the cit model into place. i urge you to give that model a chance to work, so we can see what that looks like. maybe once we see what that looks like we will realize that tasers are the wrong way to go. i already know that tasers are the wrong way to go, but maybe the police force will also. thank you very much for listening tonight. [applause] president mazzucco: at this time, i think the commissioners need to talk a little bit about this. i think we probably should start with commissioner hammer and i, who put together the amendment to line item four. we probably should start with what we are voting on. commissioner hammer: i am happy to, but i think some interesting
things came out tonight. i would like to hear from other commissioners. i think we talked a lot about it. commissioner chan: first, i really want to give a huge thank you for everybody being here past 10:00 at night. that is extreme commitment. i want to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart. [applause] i rode done pretty much everything everybody said to make sure we take in this be back. i also appreciate the department presentation. i appreciate the commission's patience in listening to the presentation i put together tonight. i have a list of things i would like to make sure we include in our consideration. first, i should think president mazzucco and commissioner hammer for talking about this ahead of time and how to frame it in a way that is constructive. what i heard in terms of the resolution put forward -- it
looks like some of the pieces we heard tonight, commissioner hammer probably has the same thoughts. we heard from every person there needs to be community input. whatever we do, we need a timeline that allows a real conversation with all the different communities that were highlighted tonight. that needs to happen. it cannot be rushed through. i do not want us coming back in 30 days and saying we want tasers. that is not appropriate. we have a huge community we serve. we need to meet with is the pri organizations and experts. i think we need to spend more time researching and talking with doctors who are independent. i have spent so much time the last couple of weeks trying to read every study i could find on tasers. i had a hard time finding studies that were as independent as we heard tonight. most other doctors have a connection to taser
international. dr. sang one say this, but when he did this research, taser tried to bribe him. then, they sued him. he is still doing this research completely independently. i admire that. community stakeholder discussions need to happen. we also need to explain what ever research we do, where the money is going to come from. where is the money coming from? how much will it cost in terms of training, acquiring weapons, which celebrating the weapons, lawsuits, liability. we had two plaintiff-side lawyers who were talking against their interest. it would be in their interest for us to adopt tasers so they could litigate. we need to talk about that and see where the money is coming from if we come up with any sort of intermediate device. we also need to talk about use
of force, when you would be allowed to use this weapon. i am not clear when you would be allowed to use this weapon. it looks like when there is a deadly for scenario, you cannot use less deadly force in response. it does not appear tasters -- tasers are that effective. houston and los angeles reported that they are about 70% effective. memphis reported about 50%. when there is a dangerous scenario, i do not see realistically how an officer is going to use a taser when it is a non-deadly-force scenario. i still need to be clear about it but we're going to research this. we need to explain what scenarios you can use these devices in. also, i am glad that the proposed amendments so far includes the two commissioners.
if we do move forward, i would help put this in terms of communication if there is community involvement. i want to highlight this, because i know we spent many hours on this two weeks ago. this was unanimously adopted by the commission to weeks ago. the working group had our first meeting last friday at 2:00. we're having a second meeting next week. during our initial meeting, some any questions. -- so many questions. there are a lot of questions that can be ironed out. but it is going to take time. dr. dupont and major cochrane from memphis estimate it takes from six months to a year to roll up a cit program. i want to make sure that program
is up and running. i heard, and i do not know if this is completely true, that this commission adopted cit many years ago, and it was never implemented. i can see that happening again. if i can help it, it will get implemented. but it gives you a sign of how difficult it is to make reform, especially when it comes to a difficult issue involving our mental health community. i do want to make sure that whatever we discussed tonight, whatever program we come up with, that cit needs to be up and running. we need training in place before we give weapons. if you have new weapons and you have cit barely having our second meeting, you're going to use one of the other. also, dr. sang came twice to tell us he would strongly recommend that we have
defibrillators, automated external defibrillators, if we adopt any weapon that might stop or capture the heart. as an immigrant rights activist, i cannot let this go. we cannot give money to arizona. there cannot be money that goes to arizona because that boycott is still active and going on. [applause] arizona unfortunately is still passing laws that are anti- immigrant and racist. these are things i want to keep in mind. one must point on my list is to make sure that whatever research we do, we respond to this community of color. that was mentioned several times tonight. commissioner dejesus: i would like to thank the experts that testified this evening. your presentations were excellent. i would like to think the public that we did so patiently through
the discussion this evening and gave their excellent input into this conversation. thank you. it is indeed very helpful. but at this point i would really like to turn to the chief, who has been sitting through all of this as well tonight, and thank you to the department for its terrific presentation. but i am wondering where the department is at this point in time, before the commission proceed with our conversation. the agenda framed our focus in one direction. we came into this meeting and we started it with a slightly shifted, amended focus. now, after we have heard from experts, the community -- where is your thinking at this point? -- commissioner kingsley:
chief godown: when we went to los angeles and look at their model, and went to memphis, i think all three of us sat down collectively and meant the decision that was what we wanted to do. the argument here is the fact that we are still trying to implement the cit. i could of been an obstruction to this and tried very hard not to implement the memphis model. i understand the theory that we want the memphis model up and running. what i am asking is a proposal to go back and research not only the taser, but any less lethal options in the law enforcement community today. i am being told there are lasers? you can flash and disorient people that have weapons. that is my request, to be able to go up there and research all less lethal options that are out there, plus obviously the taser.
that is what i am asking for. like i said before, i have an obligation to the men and women of this department to give them another -- i know people hate to hear the term "tool in the toolbox." as far as the scenario today with the knife -- the suspect could have a broken bottle or a baseball bat. different scenarios could have occurred. i understand the lethal use of force. i understand the passion of this community and every speaker who came into this room. i respect everyone's opinion. but as chief of this department i have an obligation to keep my officer's life. there needs to be extensive training. the use of force policy needs to be looked at. there is a litany of issues i have to deal with in this department. we will look into those, plus cit, plus where we will get finances to pay for this. i have not even begun to look
where the money was coming from because i never got permission to research. i am willing to invite the community to participate in this process. i am willing to go out and speak to the community. i want to work closely with the occ and community members. a lot of people came up tonight and said "arm tasers." all we are asking is to go out and research the feasibility. i might come back in a month and say it is not the way to go and i have found another weapon. i might say that after looking at everything i am still looking at taser. i will come up with an option, it will go to public comment, and the commission will vote. i am not asking to arm at this point in the debate. i am just asking to research the feasibility of a less lethal option that can be a substitute in some instances, under certain conditions.
president mazzucco: thank you. vice president marshall: this is the second one of these i sat through. i was confused after the last one, and i am confused after this one. we did this a year ago. part of the confusion that day, it turned out, was the way it was agendized. we tried to modify it as we were going to this process. it looks like today, we started off with it agendized one way, and it looks like there will be a proposal to move something else through. part of my confusion -- tonight, to me -- each time we have had this, it has been nothing but.
counterpoint -- but point counterpoint. the department wants them. there were officers earlier who said they have been in life- threatening situations and that having a taser could help save their lives, and they would not have to use a gun. that is what i heard. then the other side said it would not be used in these situations anyway. i am confused about that. the scenario that was presented -- the officers were up there in those harrowing situations. they said we could have used those in the situations and there would help. then the expert on the other side -- i have to have some clarity on that. that is very important to me. perf said other departments are using them and they are not bad.
then the other side says that are horrible. i am more confused now than when i started this process. one side said the devices can be used properly. the other side said the cannot be used properly at all. i need clarity. at this point, i want to know what we are voting on, we are attempting to vote on, because i am not sure. but all of this goes into my pot. when i heard the latino group, there is a lot of demarcation care. -- demarkation here.
because you use a bunch of things now, i need to pull all we need to look at other devices. as part of this pilot program. we're authorizing the chief to start looking at the use of c.e.d.'s or tasers along with working with the o.c.c., along with working with the two commissioners, along with working with community groups to see if in fact that is the tool that we're going to have to -- that we're going to use. i think it's abundantly clear. we need something. there's something in the middle between they stop using their baton and pepper spray and when they revert to the firearm. we're leaving all the options for the chief if he does go out. we've heard about flats, cattle prods, we've heard -- about flashlights, cattle prods,
we've heard about a lot of things. if it comes become to tasers, that's where we're at with it. but it also has to deal with the implementation of the program. that's why we want commissioners to work with the chief. his proposal will include the ground rules. it's not my turn to talk yet but what we heard in the audience was concern. i'll get to that later but it's about putting together a proposal for the use of tasers and/or other devices. i'll turn it over to the commissioner. >> there's so many things here, some of the things were covered before. but we have to talk about a budget. last time i heard, we had officers retiring, we have a 10% deficit that may be imposed on us that we'd have to lay off 145 officers, we have officers eligible for retirement next year.
the way the budget is set, it's very tight. we don't have any classes to bring officers in. we need to talk about what the pyrity is for the department. is it getting weapons at all costs, even if we lose officers or to keep our officer spact and perhaps this is not the time, we don't have the money for it. the other thing if you are going to do this proposal about what it costs, when the former chief was here, it was my understanding that taser international was offering them for serious discount or free. the first cigarette pack free and we buy the rest. i think we need to be transparent and onboard. if that's it, if we have taser international trying to entice us with the first 2,000 tasers for free and we pay the car trinls and calibration and training and you know we do just increase their bottom line, we need to know that. we need to put that forward. just don't say, don't worry about the money, i want to know where the money is coming from, how much it's going to cost and i want to know if they're giving it to us for free and what the consequences going forward in terms of our budget.
that's really significant. i think after our march vote, they significantly changed their warnings. i think it's incumbent upon us as a citizen review board not only for the department but for ethe citizens of san francisco to know what kind of liable we're opening the city up to. i think you should get an opinion from the city attorney and you look at that language that says do the research on your own, don't shoot here, don't shoot there, and if you do shoot there, what are you going to fall back on? not only do you expose the city to liability because the city is self-insured, but there's also potential liability to the individual officer. i think we need to know what we're opening our people up for. i keep hear, they want it, they should have it. i think tasers is on the decline. you saw their money, their bottom line has been impacted. some cities have turned them in, others have not purchased
them. we've done well without them. this is a community department that prides itself on community involvement and community policing and on peacekeeping. they've done a good job with where they are now and there isn't any reason to bring in a device that we do have some study, i think the maryland study showed they didn't intend to look at that, but they showed disproportionate impact of minority communities being tazed and there's another study here that i have not completed reading yet but it goes the same way, that minority communities are disproportionately impacted meaning they're being used more in minority communities. that's the community we're trying to establish trust with, we're coming up with pal and basketball and coming up with ways to trust us to solve crime and we bring in a taser and just start indiscriminately in these communities, what are we doing with all the trust we've been trying to build?
i also think this is really inconsistent with what we just voted on two weeks ago. you know, it's either, we're going to have a program where we're going to put our money where our mouth is, and we're really going to put the other half of the officers who haven't been trained at least get the basic training and really implement the c.i.t. training which is a specialty training and it's free. that's the other thing. it's free. all we need is the leadership and mind and will to do that and we can start implementing that program. i did understand last night, chief that you said that you wanted six to nine months to look at this. now i'm hearing it's 30 days. we're going to come back in 30 days. i don't see how you can meaningfully meet with these groups and talk about the different types of weapons or other alternative weapons that are out there and the guidelines to use it in 30 days. i don't -- and the money for all the different ones and the proposal. i don't see that happening. so i don't want to be disingenuous, either you're
going to meet with the community and put the time in to meet the community, not just your advisory board but the community here tonight, all the different groups represented here tonight to meet with them and discuss it with them i don't see you doing that in 30 days. i find that disconcerting that you'd say you're going to do that in 30 days. cost is one of the things. the efficacy of the weapon is something that's really important. i think it contradicts the memphis program which hopefully would be emgraced -- embraced. i see it going by the wayside if all the traping goes to tasers. this is a sanctuary city. the idea that you want to -- if we're going to but $2 million or $3 million to arizona, given our, don't we have i don't think it will continue given the politics of san francisco and given the fact that this is
a sanctuary city. i know this is an important issue and it's come here before but we're here to do what's best for the department and the citizens of san francisco especially for politicians who are no longer here. >> last night, chief, some said you were brave to go to the democratic club but you spoke rather openly. i want to follow up on what one of the speakers said to you so we can clarify. when you mentioned six to nine months out, it sounded like you wanted to reach out to the community before you came back
a proposal for six oto nine months. is that what you said? i want to hear what your intention is. >> i can go out in 30 days and look at the weaponry that's out there and come back to the commission and make a decision as to what i think is best for the department. then go out and start putting that plan together, the use of force policy and everything, that's what will take the time to do that in the public input to go out and look at the process, that's where that comes into play. >> are you envisioning in terms of your mind a couple of steps and a couple of votes by this commission first whether or not to allow you to come together with commissioners to look at what the best weapons system to propose for a pilot deployment? that's the fist step. if we did a go-hi -- ahead in 30 days, you would work with stake holders and other commissioners to come up with what i think is the nub here, which is the details. the specifics of when should the weapons be used. when i watch the videos tonight, anyone who is a human being should be horrified and must be by this by a girl
getting tazed i, by these horrific scenes, by people dying. in my mind, there's a real need for our officers to have a different weapon. if that upsets people, i'm sorry. that comes from my experience as a police officer, having worked in law enforcement as a san franciscoian. sernlt mcclosity kentucky -- is he still here? i went out to where that attack happened. as we give equal weight to the folks who have been brutalized by cops, also give equal wait to the sergeant who doesn't get paid to get beat up or stomped or thrown through windows, and if a woman cop was out there who is all of 120 pounds would be thrown around like a rag doll. there are evil people who are intent on hurting people and sometimes cops stand in the way so we don't get hurt. sometimes they go out just to hurt cops. having been out to that scene if someone had another weapon
to immobilize that guy a cop wouldn't have been in a hospital, another cop wouldn't have had a few weeks off worse and it could have been worse. what concerns folks so much, they see all these horrible uses of the taser, abuses and when i see those cops, i think some should have been fired and some should have been criminally prosecuted, those rr assaults. if you taze a girl in the back, that's a crime, i don't care if you wear a uniform or not. i'm horrified by those scenes, i think everybody should be. but the question is, in limited circumstances, which is not a gun or something else but where an officer's safety is threatened, not her life or his life, but their safety. they shouldn't have to go fist to fist with someone who wants to hurt them really, really badly. i don't know if taser is the right weapon. i have serious concerns about the taser. i don't want to give money to arizona. but i'm intent on voting to
give our officers another weapon on a pilot program to see how it works. if it works well and we get it right and we don't have abuses then we did it right. if we did it wrong, we need to tweak it and refine it until it's right. that's my intention. >> commissioner, can i answer the question you proposed to me? the gentleman who showed the video of the mistreatment and the taser i was appalled watching those officers use those tasers on the chief of police running out and tazing a young lady running in the park like everybody else is. i'm not any happier with what i saw on tv but then again the police can misuse their weapon, they can misuse use their baton, there's a litany of other weaponry that officers have on a daily basis they can misuse. my only confusion in what you're asking me, i'm asking to look at the tasers as well as other less lethal options and i'll comba