SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco’s police department is at odds with the officer’s union over the question of shooting at moving cars, and now the union has released a new video to persuade the public.
The video starts out on a sunny autumn day with a group of activists are quietly marching on a city street, when a four-ton truck begins plowing into the crowd suddenly.
The police rush to halt the driver, but are prohibited by city police from drawing their weapons against a moving vehicle regardless of the danger-many will die or be injured.
This could actually happen with a proposal before the city police commission.
The ad that will begin airing later this week singles out police commission president Suzy Loftus, who has been wrangling with the union over language on a ban at police shooting at cars as part of an overhaul of the department’s use of deadly force rules.
“What we have here is a campaign, that is unfortunately the kind of fear mongering that we are seeing across the country,” Loftus said.
“I don’t see it that way, it’s happening all over the world,” SFPOA President Martin Halloran said.
Commission president Loftus says such exceptions are covered in the new rules.
“If something is wrong – and the very best thing to do is use your fire arm-you are able to do that. But, it is based on your critical decision making,” Loftus said.
“The commission agrees with that. The department agrees. They just don’t want to put in the language,” Halloran said.
“what it boils down to is that you can’t predict everything that an officer is going to face-but what we know is it’s more dangerous for the pubic -for offices – for civilians when there is not a strict ban on shooting at cars,” Loftus said, adding, “when you shoot at a moving vehicle -it’s an unmanned missile that could go into a crowd,”
Former Chief Greg Suhr agrees, as does Acting Chief Tony Chaplin. But, former chief Tony Ribera – now a teacher at USF, says the union has a point.
“Marty Halloran’s motive is to protect his police officers – and that’s a good motive. I think the commission wants to protect the officers too, but they also have political constituencies and other things that impact their decision making,” Ribera said.