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Friday, January 29, 2016

D.A. Blasts Mayor Lee and Police Chief Suhr For Not Cooperating With Misconduct Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 10:55 AM

  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner

You’re not serious about addressing police misconduct or reforming police department culture. That’s the gist of a Jan. 28 letter that District Attorney George Gascón sent to Mayor Ed Lee. 

As the Examiner reports, Gascón wants to know why, if the mayor is serious about stamping out bias in the SFPD, he isn’t cooperating with the D.A.’s blue ribbon panel investigating precisely that.

Earlier this month, Lee asked the Department of Justice to investigate the Dec. 2 shooting death of Mario Woods, who was killed by the SFPD after allegedly stabbing an as-yet unidentified victim and then threatening officers. Cellphone video of Woods’ death went viral, and protesters have repeatedly called for Chief Suhr’s resignation (and also disrupted the mayor's inauguration). 

Gascón, however, isn’t particularly optimistic that the U.S. Attorney General will come through with this “urgently needed investigation”

“If you are committed to restoring trust between police and the community, I ask that you take the obvious and immediate action of directing the Chief of police and the SFPD to cooperate with the Blue Ribbon Panel,” Gascón wrote  the the mayor. “Public safety in San Francisco can no longer afford decision making that favors the interests of the Police Officers Association over the interests of the citizens you were elected to represent.”

Per the Chronicle, Chief Suhr was also upbraided for being uncooperative. He reportedly requires officers to speak with Gascón’s panel on personal time, and the panel must work through the police union, which has been highly critical of protesters and investigations into the department.

In addition, Gascón accused the mayor of “stonewalling” an investigation into the 14 officers who allegedly exchanged racist and homophobic text messages. According to Gascón, the mayor has refused to fund an analysis of 4,000 police reports written by the accused officers, which Gascón says is necessary to determine if bias crept into official police work.

For his part, Mayor Lee insists he’s committed to transparency and reform. A statement from his office notes that the mayor  has "proposed a number of police reforms to rebuild trust with the community, and he looks forward to working with all law enforcement agencies, including the District Attorney’s Office, to restore that trust.”

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Jeremy Lybarger

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