Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    December 17, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm PST

6:30 pm
are tasers necessary for this? i would say, no. psych tech, works in a job where we are working with mentally ill people, they don't use them. okay, you could argue well in the environment of a hospital the psych teches work there are no weapons, but that argument holds no, does not have any validity because the vast majority of cases where people are tased no weapon was involved on the part of the victim. it is true that the... it is true that there is a higher percentage of them that have been tased. this is from national data. and i think that it is also just manifestly obvious that it is going to be used for in cases of lack of compliance,
6:31 pm
rather than dangers, no tasers. >> i oppose the use of tasers and i am not from the city but i have friends and family here in sf and i am from southern county and i am here because i would oppose the use of tasers in my city just as would oppose it and i am taking steps to make sure that the county is addressing these concerns. and i lived in the city for series of years when i got my ba in psychology at san francisco state and i am also a social worker. and general and i want to say that in does not take a rocket scientist to speculate that tasers will or will not do harm to someone who has been traumatized. it is obvious that it will. with health problems and heart, and traumaization that is a
6:32 pm
given. it is interesting that this is being brought up to, before the crisis team has happened. i could maybe, understand, maybe understand if they wanted to bring in the tasers after a few years of the pilot program, but to do this right away is obviously counter productive to a crisis team. like many people have said, we all come from families we all have also our jobs and we work personally and professionally with people in crisis, you have heard people say never have we thought that we need to use a taser. i have been in a series of parties with friends who end up hurting each other bad i never feel that a taser would deescalate any of those situations. so that is all that i got to say. and again, there is plenty of people in the medical field and doctor and they are not running to the arms of taser industry to ask to use tasers, i think that is counter productive. and yeah tha, is all that i got to say. and obviously i want to sort of
6:33 pm
break it back by there is an issue of money at stake in terms of tasers and big industry and that is m where down the line and we end the culture and we need to create healthy communities. >> thank you very much. >> next speaker, please? >> good afternoon, my name is kenneth levels and i am a proud citizen of san francisco and a city college full time student and i also live in a homeless shelter here in san francisco. and two years ago i was diagnosed with depression and anxiety as well as ptsd and i have been receiving treatment for the last two years, with substance abuse counseling around harm reduction. and i have seen a life change in two years like i could not imagine. having said that, i just like to share one incident with the police, not with the san francisco police,. i was living in dublin five years ago and i worked here in
6:34 pm
the city and so, this was a 15-minute ride and so i had to fall asleep and take a nap. so this day like usual, i had fallen asleep the train was delayed and i didn't know why but i had plenty of time to get to work. suddenly i was awakened by five police officers with their hands on the weapons. and it startled me to the point where i jumped out of my seat and one of the officers shoved me in the seat and said we got a report that there was a black man that has or a woman said that there was a black man carrying a gun and wearing a long coat. i had a jacket on and it was covering me when i was asleep, it was not long at all. i had probably touched a gun twice in my life, i don't like guns. and never carry one. but it was just the way that whole thing was handled and then you think if there was a report of a white man in a long coat, would they have gone to every white man on the train to
6:35 pm
look and search through everything of mine, cutting my down. it was a horrible violation. and it triggered my ptsd and because i could not sleep for a week after that. and i could not... that day at work they sent me home early because i was so shaken up by the incident and so i am just saying, if you add a taser to that, you know, that equation, i just imagine how worse off it could be. >> thank you very much. >> i have a quick question for you, sir. >> so, just you know you mentioned that you know if they had had a taser how do you think that would have had an impact on your personal recovery. >> to be honest with you. >> i would imagine that being shocked and then being shocked with the electric jolt of a taser would impact my mental health. and as well, being in the shelter with other people who a
6:36 pm
majority of them are dealing with issues most of it is deescalated without violence, and there might be a lot of screaming on i daily basis but not a lot of violence, when you are daoeg with the mental health community i don't think that using tasers on them, unless the circumstances is the best way to go about it. >> thank you. >> >> before the next speaker i will call out a few more karls. >> wilson, miller, alicia rubin aver and cavera and perez and buller. >> thanks. >> hello, my name is gary and i am from the san francisco drug users union and my comment is going to be short and sweet. this argument over non-lethal tasers and non-lethal protection for the officers and
6:37 pm
up against the mentally ill and challenged, has been going on for years. tasers are as lethal as any gun, a gun is just as non-lethal as a tase and her if you spent half of the money that you have spent on conversation, debates ps, surveys and documentation and a little meetings like this, back into the mental health facility and the hospitals and the non-the homeless shelters and get these people off the street, these officers are going to have not have half of the problems that is where the money should be going instead of the ridiculous conversations. thank you. >> thank you, next speaker please? >> good morning, thank you for having this hearing today. >> my name is jeremy miller i am with the stelli foundation and the san francisco no taser
6:38 pm
task force and i would like to six points. number one, the police assassination of vanbue and parong were nothing other an assassination and should not be used in this context, especially prolong whos family requested that the case nod not to be exploited for this. >> two, as regards commander ali assertion that a person under the influence of drugs or experiencing mental health episodes would have a greater pain tolerance, the documented science regarding that point is inconclusive what is ininclusive is the severe threat to their vital health that is posed by tasing such an individual. >> three, in portland just a few weeks ago, a settlement was reached after a september department of justice decision against the portland police for
6:39 pm
the misuse of tasers, specifically against people with mental elth issues. the plea bargain will cost 5.4 million annually including cit and including housing and treatment. and including 180 day deadline for internal affairs and a limit for complaints against the police must be heard. >> number 4 is that the lawsuits will happen. the draft policy i have read over the police draft policy multiple times and they do not cover the recent ninth circuit decisions they do not cover the holes in the law where san francisco would be liable and 9th circuit has heard by far the majority of the cases 190, cases that is 27.4 percent of all federal cases.
6:40 pm
>> thanks. >> national population. >> thank you. >> finally. >> could you share with us your 5 and 6 briefly. >> yes, thank you, sir. >> finally, in 2010, the united nations committee on torture declared tasers including the x26 as a legitimate torture weapon and the assertion that it is less lethal is ludicrous and if you go nationwide and internationally it is designated at different levels of lethality of severity, based on the police's own stands and protocols and it was only in 1999 that it was taken out of the category of being a fear arm only on the basis of using nitrogen as opposed to gun powder. no on tasers. >> next, speaker, please? >> good afternoon, supervisors.
6:41 pm
thank you for having this hearing, we are grateful. the administrative director of a foundation, also a member of the san francisco no taser task force that is comprised of 23 people and different grassroots organizations and also the city commissioner. i am here today to respond to someone who said that we don't know what the no lethal long-term effect of tasers are, as a volunteer to be tasered in 2004. this year my living proof of the long term damage of tasers to my sciatic nerve and the conjunctive tissue between the femur and the bone that is permanent and that is why i have been walking with a cane. but i am here to address you how severely concerned we are
6:42 pm
about sanctuary city, potentially being equipped with tasers. you probably saw some of the national tests, and 7 people are being killed by tasers, nationwide. and 766 people have been killed by tasers. nationwide, since 1983. and a long those, 177 people in california, who are actually the top state like this, about the taxes and we are above florida. and also need to mention to you that 41.9 percent of people killed by tasers in california were latino or hispanic decent. i have all of the names for you, do we want sanctuary to commit that atrosty, please consider it and apply political pressure on the subcommittee for tasers for the police commission, thank you very much.
6:43 pm
>> thank you. >> next speaker, please? >> how are you today? >> so know way, i work for the division of homelessness. and today i come to oppose against tasers and i have to maintain why i oppose against tasers. because they are killing people. the tasers are killing people and we have several number of people that be killing for the police. they be shooting for the police. and the reason why oposing and we are oposing against tasers. so i prefer to see something given, i prefer to see like a weekend create kind of level and consciousness to the police to let me how killing the people.
6:44 pm
or to feeling better to the people, immigrants like latinos or people who come from around the world to this country. so we don't need to create more, new, forms of how we can killing people. first this is a killer. tasers are killers and we have already known these numbers. so please supervisors be supporting and oposing against tasers, again any time that tasers are weapons to killing people, more with mental illness, for homelessness, with living without any protection, any support. so please, against tasers, thank you so much. >> thank you, next speaker, please? >> couple other cards. david lewis, and ben. >> lidian bloomberg.
6:45 pm
go ahead. >> my name is rueben and i am a volunteer with the coalition on homelessness, i was not planning on speaking today i had no intention of doing so but i was inspired of things that i have heard today flt wow, really strong testimony from all involved, officer ali and the aclu, representative and so on and so forth, and good, hard questions posed by the supervisors and yeah, in my opinion, it is an issue it is a very sensitive and delicate issue that could certainly pit one side against the other, to create divide and create tension, i am not saying that is going to happen, i hope that it doesn't. but going forward, yeah, i just trying to take a compassionate view to all involved. i think that it is important that police officers have the things that they need to adequately perform their job because it is a dangerous job. but, i also believe like the
6:46 pm
supervisor olague brought up, that it is very important to also take a compassionate view towards the low income, the people with mental disabilities to insure that we are doing everything that we can to protect them. and i have lived here in san francisco for six years and i have no complaints but it is a great city but i agree, 400 percent with something that supervisor olague said that in san francisco is allegedly a quote, progressive end quote, city. and i hope that going forward from this day on, that we can see that and find a productive efficient solution that is good for all involved, because, i don't know, essentially we are all family. >> thank you, next speaker, please? >> joe, wilson with the hospitality house. i think that it is very
6:47 pm
important discussion that we are having today because ultimately it is an appeal to our collective humanity. and certainly, i can appreciate the difficulty that the police force faces in engaging this discussion, but i think that it is imperative for the command staff really to lead the department, down the road, toward that appeal to collective humanity. i think that the gist of the crisis intervention team is to try different things. it is to try a different approach. so that officers don't see themselves as enforcers, but engagers. that when we talk about having another tool in our tool kit, well, a sledge hammer is a tool. but the heart is also a tool. and for people in crisis, what they need is an appeal to the heart and our humanity and for
6:48 pm
officers to feel that the officers that it is their responsibility to do the harder thing and the easy thing is to react and reach for a tool when you are actually ignoring the tool that you already have, that is making eye contact, the tone of your voice, the power of the human touch and that is what the discussion is about today. is leading us down that path, and giving this pilot project, this different approach a chance to work. rather than jumping to the immediate conclusion that it will not work unless officers have another potential weapon on their belt. that is not something that the community is calling for. and hospitality house, every day, we are dealing with people. in various stages of crisis, i would submit that this room is full of people at different
6:49 pm
points of the mental health continuum. depending on the out come of an election, the supervisors can find them... >> we are asking the police department. >> not this one. >> thank you, mr. wilson, next speaker please. >> good afternoon, i am a san francisco resident and volunteer at the coalition. and i am here to say that the taser is not going to work because there are a lot of people that are going to hurt them and you know like me, in the case and i have a condition of health and one of those hit me, you know, i don't know how it is going to work on me. so i have a chance to say, it is no good for the tasers. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please? >> and one more card. tammy hepers. >> it is okay. i am good.
6:50 pm
okay. >> my name is benjamin, i am a native san franciscoan and i think that the last power that the police have the better. very unamerican to give police power in this country. very unamerican and i am disgusted to know that you people want to give these cops tasers, it is ridiculous. >> the next speaker, please? >> good afternoon, supervisors david elliott lewis, i am a member and a secretary of our city's mental health board. our board in november passed a resolution, against giving a taser to cit police. and now i have personally... we have a police officer who is a member of our board and i have spoken to her and other officers and i have heard their argument and one of their arguments is that tasers gives them an additional tool, a tool that is safe, i mean, why should they just have a firearm, why not have a tool that could possibly save lives
6:51 pm
and those are examples of confrontations where tasers with save lives and i think that tasers can save lives in the right situation, that that was not why our board passed a resolution against it and that is not why i am concerned about *. i am concerned about it because they are being, the proposal to give them to cit officers that is crisis intervention trained officers, and these are officers trained to use verbal deescalation techniques to diffuse a stressful, mental health crisis. and when you are in that kind of encounter and if you have the choose of talking someone down verses clicking a button and the taser pull really is, a taser fire is like clicking a button it becomes so much more easy to just think about clicking that button, verses talking, talking is stressful, it takes time and it has an uncertain out come. yes, there is more risk with talking and a lot less risk to the officer with a taser pull. but the very site of that taser on that officer's belt is a threat to the situation.
6:52 pm
and that taser is unhol stered it is a greater threat. they could be used as a pain compliance device to force compliance and that makes them a threat and that helps to under mine the spirit and the design of cit which is a verbal approach to deescalation and so it is for those reasons that i am concerned about giving cit officers tasers and i want to thank you for your time, thank you. >> thank you very much. >> supervisor olague, a question for you david? >> i guess, you know, one of the concerns that i had was and i sort of approached it earlier, you know, unfortunately we are not able to have somebody here from the department of public health and to look at it but you know i guess that one of the big concerns that i have is the impact that it has on people in a crisis situation that are perhaps, have suffered their whole life or maybe not.
6:53 pm
maybe it is just this isolated incident where it has reached this kind of crisis level that what impact do you believe being tased has on their ultimate recovery and ptsd, perhaps or what? i mean it just seems like a very uncompassionate approach to it. i am not editorial... i guess that i am editorializing, could you give us an input on how? >> as a supervisor... >> okay. >> i looked at the research and studies by the aclsxu, they found that more often than using them as a disabling tool to depress a suspect they are used as a pain compliance term that is an aclu term. pain compliance and one of the ways that they are used is a taser is pulled and it is arcked where they will arc and throw an electrical arc across the context to show the suspect
6:54 pm
the amount of pain that they could cause that person and that in and off itself is very threatening and can cause trauma, even if that suspect is never struck with the taser electrodes just seeing the arc is traumatizing if they are struck, it is traumatizing, the actual reach on whether it is causing trauma in the population is still ongoing. but there is research to show the very unhealthy out comes in terms of cardiac events and others. and the departments that have adopted them, they have not shown any lower rate of incus deaths for officers that have taser or not. it has not saved lives. they are i am ploying it as a
6:55 pm
way of intervening in a mental health crisis situation. >> excellent, question. >> in fact, our cit is modeled after the one used by the memphis police department. and while there are some in the memphis police department that are advocating for tasers they have not proved it yet because of these very concerns, so some, yes, they have some have applied for tasers but it has not yet been approved because exactly that, it under minds the whole verbal deescalation approach of the crisis intervention training so they have not used it of the >> so the source of it has been mostly the police department that is recommended this use not the public health or not mental health professionals or aclus or anything else? it seems to be coming from a... >> it is coming from the police department and san francisco only mental health association, called the mental health association in san francisco has taken the position against it. >> you have a mental health board.
6:56 pm
>> we are in the mental health board and the association actually. >> i should clarify that, yes, i am secretary of the mental health board and we have taken a position against it too. the mental health association is a non-profit that does mental health advocacy work and have taken a position against it. the advocacy is coming from law enforcement individuals. and they will site situation wheres they safe lives, but don't seem to be the appropriate deals in a mental health encounter that is the wrong tool for the job. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> two other cards, phil masser cola and jennifer fredenbach. >> my name is lidia and i heard the officers that it was 15,000, it is actually 50,000. this is the first issue that i put out and i remember that at this presentation that taser
6:57 pm
international gave at the police commission they said that they do not recommend using a taser if faced with a weapon. which makes me wonder if the police department is not going to be using them against armed individuals who will they be using them against? and if sfpd has made cit a priority why does not 911 know what i am talking about when i asked for the officer. why wasn't one deployed in the crisis? why doesn't the beat cop know anything about the problem? >> the very community that they propose to use the tasers against, the people in the mental health crisis, these are the exact communities that are at a greatly increased risk of cardiac arrest. one of the few studies on tasers that was not bought by taser international that showed that in-custody fatalities go
6:58 pm
up 600 percent in the first year. and are you aware that tasers only have a useful life of five years or so after which they need to be scraped and repurchased. each defibrillator costs twice the money of the tasers and also like to add that the deescalation training was scaled back by the sfpd and the stated reason was lacks of funds, how do we have the money to train the force to use another weapon of violence and how can we expect the citizens to react with anything but violence in the face of a police department who models that behavior? >> thank you. next speaker, please? >> good afternoon, my name is bolder and i am with the gray panthers. and i really appreciate your holding this hearing. i'm not sure that there is anything that i want to add to
6:59 pm
the numerous things that have been said about concern with the use of the tasers. and i did... a couple of things came to mind. one is that i think that the advocacy for the use of tasers is also coming from the company that makes the tasers and makes money off of them. a second thing that i think is that it is obviously a defective tool. and it is unpredictable in its effects and we should not even be talking about buying any. and i don't know if i heard correctly, but it sounds like the police department is saying that it is not going to cost us anything because it has been a donation. that is even more sickening that some unknown entity is providing them without our having control of them through the budget. and one l