Police Union Fights for Ability to Shoot at Moving Vehicles and do Chokeholds

Nicholas Iovino | Courthouse News Service

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – San Francisco’s police union sued the city last week over its approval of a new policy that bars officers from shooting at moving vehicles or using chokeholds on suspects.

Citing recent attacks in Nice, France, and Columbus, Ohio, where vehicles were used as weapons against civilians, the union says the new policy will hinder officers’ ability to protect themselves and the public from killers behind the wheel.

The city currently faces a string of lawsuits over police killings, including the shooting death of 29-year-old Jessica Williams in May. Williams was shot dead by a police sergeant while attempting to flee in a stolen vehicle, according to the wrongful death suit filed by her family in October.

Williams’ death prompted the resignation of former Police Chief Greg Suhr, who faced mounting pressure to step down after a series of fatal police shootings and two sets of scandals over officers exchanging racist text messages.

The city announced last week it had selected Bill Scott, a black deputy police chief from Los Angeles, to head the San Francisco Police Department starting in late January after months of searching for a new chief.

The new use-of-force policy, unanimously approved by the city’s seven-member police commission on Dec. 21, also bans officers from using carotid restraints, the same kind of chokehold an officer used on Eric Garner in Staten Island in July 2014. Garner’s death, caused by the police chokehold, led to nationwide protests with police reform activists chanting Garner’s final words, “I can’t breathe.”

The union claims the city’s police commission had previously agreed to let officers continue using the chokehold technique with some new restrictions.

The newly approved policy comes more than two months after the Department of Justice issued 272 recommendations aimed at reforming the troubled city police department.

Under the new rules, officers are completely barred from shooting at moving vehicles unless a suspect is firing a gun from the vehicle.

In the lawsuit filed on Dec. 20, the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association claims the city failed to bargain in good faith with the union before approving the new policy in violation of the union’s memorandum of understanding with the city.

“If the commission is permitted to unilaterally implement the revised use of force policy, the POA’s ability to meet and confer meaningfully over the changes in working conditions contained within the policy will be irreparably harmed,” the 12-page complaint states.

The suit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, claims the city prematurely declared an impasse in its negotiations with the union on Oct. 21 and failed to exhaust impasse-resolution procedures as required under the city charter and state law.

The union seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to block implementation of the new policy, and to force the city to resolve the dispute through arbitration.

Greg Adam of Messing Adam & Jasmine in San Francisco represents the union.

The San Francisco Police Department, which employs 2,294 officers, declined to comment on the pending litigation.

San Francisco Police Officers Association President Marty Halloran and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday morning.

Published by Courthouse News Service.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3682 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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  • Dan Knox

    police are violent ,overpaid,lying,cowardly,shit for brains,lazy,god complex,terrorist,i have no respect for these pos poor excuse of not even near human assholes

    • just me


      • PatrickHenry


    • David Kelly

      Since you believe they make so much money, why don’t you go and do it? While there are bad cops, there are far more that take the heat for them. By your assessment, all BLACKS are bad too. So, hotshot, jump on in there and go through the training and get on the firing line. Maybe you can be out there when some asshole decides to start sniping cops because BLM thinks it’s a good idea. A lot of lip from you but, no apparent action.

  • piggypiggy

    What in the world has our country come to when the police sue to be able to kill or maim using any technique when told no.
    San Francisco needs to fire the entire department and start over.

  • Member548

    The possibility of a real, justifiable need to shoot at a moving vehicle exist, but so many officers are quick draw cowards or thuggish, bloodthirsty goons, and it appears this particular police commission figures officers are more likely to abuse that tactical choice, which does seem to be the case in the vast majority of cases where officers open fire on vehicles for what often amounts to instances of “respect mah authoritah”, than to use it wisely when it will save lives.

  • Drew Brenneman

    Another problem that I’ve seen through viral videos is the increasing police brutality and officers getting off without any harsh punishment. It is time the police and unions are restricted and forced to make changes for the better of citizens. The rising amount of crimes that are done by law enforcement and NOT punished needs to stop and be handled by a committee of citizens that has the power to overturn the Supreme Court and hand down appropriate punishments to the guilty officers as well as command and fellow officers for NOT putting a stop to the crooked dealings. With more officers losing their jobs, pensions, badge for illegal/criminal deals and facing prison in general population might think twice about what they are doing. Law enforcement MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AS WELL AS TO A HIGHER STANDARD. They are here to be examples to the community they serve. The logo of “protect and serve” (forgive me if I have that backwards) has gone out the door and must be reinstated and honored.

  • Uncle Arty

    so why doesn’t a group of people get together and counter sue the fucking union

  • Philip Tomlins

    You volunteer to become a LEO, it is not compulsory. If you don’t like the rules get out of the kitchen.

  • Liz O’neill

    they don’t want to have to stop murdering people in cold blood for no reason, they want to be able to shoot on sight, even when someone is fleeing, unarmed and with their back to them, that includes, women, children, the disabled, people with mental health issues, men, black, white, Hispanic or any other race they choose. they want to be able to throttle anyone they choose, even after 8 of them have beaten and handcuffed the person before hand.

  • Stephane Tremblay

    The first thing that needs to happen is stop giving paid vacations to officers when they do wrong.