SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A supervisor in San Francisco on Thursday introduced a “carrot and stick” approach to reign in excessive force by the city’s police department.
On the steps of San Francisco City Hall, Supervisor John Avalos presented a bold plan to light a $200 million fire under the San Francisco Police Department to spark reform.
The proposal would put $200 million dollars, about a third of the police budget, into reserve. If certain benchmark reforms aren’t met on time, the money stays frozen until the reforms are met.
“Money is the ability to carry out work,” explained Avalos. “If you don’t get funding in your budget to pay officers, then you can’t pay officers.”
The SFPD has come under public intense pressure after a series of officer-involved fatal shootings.
One of those incidents involved Luis Demetrio Gongora, who officers shot and killed seconds after arriving on the scene.
Avalos, along with a half dozen community activist groups are proposing new reforms and more accountability, quarterly reports on data, metrics and increased transparency.
“This is actually putting place clear standards and clear metrics and hold them accountable to the changes they promised to be making for years and haven’t made,” said Avalos.
He continued: “I’m not going to be part of being fooled again when I’m told over and over again we’re making these changes happen and we see another person get killed on our streets.”
Representative from the activist groups Avalos has partnered with also spoke of the need to speed reform.
“When it comes to gathering the data, monitoring the data, effecting using the data in effect to weed out abusive officers, it could be very well be the lives of so many people like Amilcar, like Luis and so many others are at stake,” said Father Richard Smith of the group Justice for Amilcar.
“Our use of force must get in line with San Francisco’s values,” said Karen Fleshman of San Franciscans for Police Accountability.
Supervisor Avalos gives the plan a 75 percent chance of passing, but first the proposal has to get out of Budget and Finance Committee. If approved by committee, it would then move on to a full Board of Supervisors vote sometime in July.
At least one Supervisor has already voiced with concerns about the plan.
Supervisor Malia Cohen issued a statement Thursday after Avalos presented the proposal.
“I am still evaluating how this $200 million budget reserve will directly impact our Police Department, specifically related to its immediate staffing levels and incoming Police Academies,” her statement read.
“I agree with Supervisor Avalos that the SFPD needs to be held accountable for delivering use of force reforms, but it is my hope we do not politicize a process that requires trust and collaboration from all sides,” the statement concluded.