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Monday, November 7, 2011

Paul Miyamoto: "No Regrets" Regarding Video of Prisoner Extractions

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 1:20 PM

The hold music these days at the campaign office for sheriff candidate Paul Miyamoto is "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt -- a tune immortalized by Bugs Bunny cartoons as the soundtrack of peace and tranquility. But just as Bugs always ruined that mood, a seven-year-old video with a decidedly different soundtrack has tossed a monkey wrench into the waning days of election season.

The video, posted above, has been circulated by San Francisco lawyer Ben Rosenfeld, who represented demonstrators arrested after protesting a 2004 biotech conference at Moscone Center. Of the more than 100 protesters, 38 engaged in what Rosenfeld refers to as "jail solidarity," physically refusing to submit to the booking process -- which led to the extraction process above, filmed by the sheriffs themselves.  

Reviewing the ugly footage, Miyamoto told SF Weekly he has no regrets regarding the way the event unfolded. What's "ironic," he adds, is that he and his fellow deputies "were trying to get them out of jail. We are trying to release them." After booking, the protesters were released -- and, in the end, none of them were charged.

Miyamoto says the goal was to individually remove each protester without using projectiles, blunt objects, or pepper spray. "We did know they would use passive resistance, so you'll see every time we pull someone out we place them on a wheelchair or gurney. We really were trying to minimize the use of force." He pauses. "Unfortunately, the sound effects were rather dramatic."

click to enlarge Paul Miyamoto poses at the vista point where every candidate for office in San Francisco has his or her photo snapped
  • Paul Miyamoto poses at the vista point where every candidate for office in San Francisco has his or her photo snapped
This process, he says, took up to six hours. And, he acknowledges, it is not fun to watch. "I understand that. But there are not too many alternatives. If you have to remove someone from a jail cell physically, that was probably the least intrusive way."

Rosenfeld's clients sued the city, alleging excessive force -- this internal video was obtained by the plaintiffs during that time. The suit ended with the city settling for $25,000 and acknowledging no wrongdoing.

Miyamoto claimed he's not bothered by the video going public. "I ask people to take a look and judge for themselves. This is a documentation of some of the occurrences of what happens in a jail. This is something you have to deal with. This only solidifies how professionally we act when facing a situation that calls for some kind of action.

"This reflects well on the department."

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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