Schism grows between San Francisco leaders, police

Police carSan Francisco could be on the brink of a schism between the police union and city leaders that rivals or exceeds the animosity seen in New York City between the police union and Mayor Bill de Blasio in the winter of 2014-15. Supervisors voted unanimously this week to declare July 22 to be a day of mourning for Mario Woods, a stabbing suspect armed with a knife who was shot death by police on Dec. 2 after walking away from them and refusing to surrender. July 22 would have been his 27th birthday.

The San Francisco Chronicle has some key details:

Video taken of the confrontation showed Woods starting to walk away from police when five officers opened fire with at least 15 rounds. Critics of how police handled the incident say there’s no indication on the videos that Woods was lunging at or otherwise threatening the officers.


The district attorney’s office, police and Office of Citizen Complaints are investigating whether the officers either committed a crime or violated department policy. On Monday, Lee asked the federal Justice Department to look into the Woods killing and other police actions.


Also on Monday, the Police Officers Association sent the supervisors a strongly worded letter deriding the Woods Day resolution. It cited several police officers and firefighters who were killed on the job, and said the city hadn’t designated a day in their honor.

Unlike N.Y. mayor, leaders don’t try to placate police

The parallels with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s relationship with his police force are plain. In December 2014, when de Blasio spoke at a ceremony for two murdered officers, hundreds of officers turned their backs on him, furious over the mayor’s comments broadly condemning how minorities are treated by police in New York and elsewhere. Union leaders said de Blasio had “blood on his hands.”

A week later, de Blasio criticized their behavior. “Those individuals who took certain actions the last two weeks, they were disrespectful to the families involved. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “They were disrespectful to the families who lost their loved ones. I can’t understand why anyone would do such a thing in the context like that.”

But by May 2015, de Blasio and police union leaders had patched up their relationship with the mayor, with credit given to de Blasio’s handling of the killing of another officer, his support for getting officers new and better bulletproof vests, and his opposition to a proposed ban on police chokeholds.

In San Francisco, by contrast, leaders are taking a much sterner tone, describing police criticism of their actions as ominous and deplorable:

Supervisor David Campos, who authored the Woods Day resolution with Supervisor John Avalos, told his board colleagues, “By standing up to the bullying and intimidation we have seen, you are not only standing up for yourself, for your family, but you are standing up for an entire city.”


“We won’t be intimidated by the POA,” board President London Breed said. “This is a victory, but we have so much more work to do.”

That’s from the Chronicle.

Super Bowl may face protests over police killing

super.bowl.50Meanwhile, the SF Weekly, the city’s alternative paper, has consistently likened Woods’ shooting to a police execution. It reports activists are considering protests during Super Bowl 50, which will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Feb. 7, as well as disruptions at game-related events:

Something major is afoot, and public officials know it. They’re just not exactly sure what it could be — or where and when it’s coming.


Already, marches and demonstrations are planned and advertised on Facebook. But the “real” show — the equivalent of a blocked Bay Bridge or a takeover of a BART train, except seen by a worldwide audience of more than 100 million viewers — is a closely held secret known only by its organizers (if something like that is even in the works).


None of the members of black.seed, who organized the Bay Bridge protest, responded to queries from SF Weekly. Organizers from the Mario Woods Coalition, which made Lee do the offstage shuffle, declined to speak with SF Weekly as well.


But opportunities abound. Buses ferrying fans to the game could be blocked. The NFL owners’ dinner, in a public place, could be made ugly. …


“There’s gonna be some funny s— going on here,” a veteran media consultant speaking on background told SF Weekly. “It makes me sick to see this coming.”

Chris Reed

Chris Reed

Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.

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