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SF Police Commission faces shake-up as two members resign

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Former San Francisco Police Commission President L. Julius M. Turman, right, was found dead in his home on Sunday. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Changes are coming to the Police Commission, with two members submitting letters of resignation in recent weeks and another two up for reappointment at the end of the month, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.

Commission President Julius Turman plans to resign May 4 after serving for more than seven years, while Commissioner Bill Ong Hing officially stepped down from his seat April 1. Both commissioners were appointed by the Board of Supervisors alongside Commissioner Petra DeJesus.

The news comes just a month after Hing was the lone commissioner to vote against a policy for arming officers with stun guns, commonly known as Tasers. Last November, all three Board of Supervisors appointees voted against the use of the controversial devices in a 4-3 decision.

“It’s disconcerting,” DeJesus said Monday. “It’s kind of shocking to me that two Board of Supervisors appointees are leaving at the same time. I think it’s going to hamper the commission’s ability to get its work done. I think those are important appointments that should really be filled as soon as possible.”

Hing, a well-known immigration expert and law professor at the University of San Francisco, declined to comment on his resignation.

The Board of Supervisors appointed Hing in December 2016 to finish out the term of Victor Hwang, an assistant district attorney who was elected as a San Francisco Superior Court judge. That term ends April 30.

Turman cited the “great deal of work” he had done in his decision to resign.

“I’m tired,” said Turman, who first announced his resignation at a Police Academy graduation in December. “It was time to let new ideas in.”

Turman served on the commission as it reshaped its use-of-force policy for the first time in years and rolled out body-worn cameras to officers. He has overseen the San Francisco Police Department as it works to implement the U.S. Department of Justice’s 272 recommendations for reform.

“Certain areas haven’t been as fast as I’d like to see happen, but I think they’re moving in the right direction, and I’m pretty positive about that,” Turman said.

Joe Marshall and Sonia Melara, two of the four mayoral appointees to the commission, are also up for reappointment at the end of the month. On April 3, Mayor Mark Farrell sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors nominating both Marshall and Melara for reappointment to four-year terms.

“I am confident that Dr. Marshall and Ms. Melara — both electors of the City and County — will continue to serve our community well,” Farrell said. “These reappointments represent the communities of interest, neighborhoods and diverse populations of the City and County of San Francisco.”

There is no word yet on who will replace Turman and Hing.

Both the mayoral and Board of Supervisors appointments will be heard at the Rules Committee. Supervisor Ahsha Safai said no hearings are scheduled yet at the Rules Committee, but they are expected to happen in May.

Melara said the Police Commission has had an “excruciating” amount of work to do over the last several years.

“I don’t blame people for not wanting to do it,” Melara said.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story misidentified Victor Hwang as a deputy public defender.

San Francisco Police Commissioner Bill Ong Hing (center) has resigned from the commission. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

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