Saturday, November 27, 2021

SFPD crime notice larded with self-congratulation

On my Thanksgiving Day walk around the neighborhood, I saw this weathered flyer stapled to a phone pole.

Click to enlarge. It's worth reading.

In case you didn't bother to enlarge, this reports that a homeless man was found burned in his sleeping bag nearby. The notice goes on to report that, after transport to General Hospital, the injured man died.

It begs for assistance in solving the crime. 

The Chronicle ran a cursory report of the death. I found no report of any subsequent arrest -- I may have missed something.

But that sad atrocity is not really the impetus for this post. I write to call attention to what appears below the plea for assistance:

Click to enlarge. This one is essential reading.

The SFPD used the murder notice to toot its own horn. 

The San Francisco Police Department stands for safety and respect for all. Hailed by the New York Times as a major city department "where police reform has worked," SFPD continues to break ground with its voluntary Collaborative Reform Initiative ...

There's a link to a police website puffing their "voluntary" compliance. 

No mention that under Trump, the Justice Department dropped efforts to force compliance with 272 needed reforms identified in 2016. The California (state) Department of Justice took up the case and, in December 2018, "found the SFPD to be 'not in substantial compliance.'" 

Many of the areas in which the SFPD was found wanting are substantive. They concern the prohibition of a dangerous chokehold once used by SFPD officers; the SFPD’s communication and reporting systems around officer-involved shootings; and informing the public about how to report officer misconduct.

The review was summarized in a Dec. 28 letter from the Cal DOJ to Chief Bill Scott. It found the department to be out of compliance with six of the 13 recommendations mentioned in the letter. The 2016 federal review of the department made 272 total recommendations in the wake of several controversial police shootings and a scandal in which officers exchanged racist, homophobic, and sexist text messages. More than two years later, the police department is still working to meet the recommendations.

By last summer, it was not clear that the SFPD had made substantive changes. Reforms were proceeding slowly.

 “The big picture is SFPD seems much more committed to being perceived as accomplishing significant police reform, than actually doing the most important pieces of it,” [former ACLU police practices attorney John] Crew said of the department’s update. 

... Spanning from one to four years, the timeline gives the impression that several critical recommendations like regular employee evaluations and a commitment “to reviewing and understanding the reasons for the disparate use of deadly force” will not be implemented anytime soon. And the timeline for the reforms has already been pushed back repeatedly, so these estimates provided by the SFPD are uncertain. 

Meanwhile, here in the city as we live it, the SFPD continues to embarrass itself. One of the top headlines in the Chronicle today reads Experts baffled by video showing San Francisco police apparently watching as burglary unfolds. You got to read it to believe it -- corruption or just napping?

No wonder SFPD wants to toot its horn on murder notices on telephone poles ...

• • •

The murder victim was named Luis Temaj. No arrests appear to have been made in this case.

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