San Francisco’s police oversight body will investigate all police shootings under a ballot measure passed by voters Tuesday.
Proposition D, which needed majority approval to pass and received 80 percent in support as of press time, ensures all police shooting incidents will be investigated by the Office of Citizen Complaints.
The District Attorney’s Office, which decides if criminal charges should be filed against the police officers involved, will investigate along with the OCC. The Police Department does its own administrative investigation as well.
Supervisor Malia Cohen, who authored the measure, said the measure is a step toward increased transparency to rebuild public trust, though it will not fix other issues in the Police Department.
“I think it will go a long way to heal the rift, the mistrust [between police and] the communities that I was elected to represent,” Cohen previously said.
The measure seeks to respond to recent incidents that have plagued the Police Department, all of which have undercut public trust in local law enforcement. Two racist text scandals and recent fatal police shootings have kept police misconduct in headlines and pressured local officials to launch reforms like Prop. D. Last month’s fatal police shooting prompted the resignation of ex-Police Chief Greg Suhr.
Over the past five years, there have been more than 30 police shootings in San Francisco, none of which led to the officers being charged with a crime for their role in the shootings.
While a small percentage of such shootings have been investigated by the OCC, under current local laws the agency is only tasked to investigate such incidents if a citizen complaint has been filed.
The new law mandates an OCC investigation into all police shootings in which someone is injured or killed. It also requires the Police Department to cooperate with that investigation.