Bumpy transition in police oversight efforts

Two new San Francisco police oversight efforts are having birthing pains over how evidence will be shared after officers shoot and injure someone.

The District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Citizen Complaints, which will be christened anew as the Department of Police Accountability in 2017, were both given expanded powers by voters to investigate such incidents this year.

The District Attorney’s Office will now head up criminal investigations into police shootings, but the details of how that will work alongside the Police Department’s administrative investigation still have to be worked out.

Police formerly led all such investigations, and Acting Chief Toney Chaplin said Wednesday night that his department already cooperates with the OCC on such matters.

“We’ve turned over everything that [OCC] Director [Joyce] Hicks and the office has asked for,” said Chaplin. “At some point she’s going to have to sit down with the DA.”

In the meantime, one of the OCC’s new mandates is to investigate all police shootings, with a focus on officer wrongdoing. But Hicks, the body’s director, said her office has yet to sit down with the District Attorney’s Office to work out how evidence will be shared while both bodies conduct their investigations.

“We do not have a document protocol with the District Attorney’s Office,” said Hicks. “We do have questions, and they have not been answered.”

The District Attorney’s Office is working on finalizing the memorandum of understanding with the Police Department first, and then will set out a plan to build a relationship with the OCC, according to Max Szabo, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office. That MOU will inform what can be shared with the OCC.

“As soon as the MOU that governs this new criminal investigative process is complete we’ll have a clearer picture of how our work can support OCC’s administrative investigations,” said Szabo.

The OCC has been headed since 2007 by Hicks, and has roughly 24 investigators who look into reported police misconduct and report to the Police Commission.

The OCC was given more powers in June when voters passed a measure tasking the body with investigating all fatal officer shootings.

Untitled-1

Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeinkCrime

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Video surfaces amid George Floyd death fallout showing SF police kneeling on man’s neck

Teen says he struggled to breathe during arrest: ‘I felt like I was going to die’

Mayor Breed declares curfew after anti-police brutality march ends in looting, vandalism

Mayor London Breed announced a curfew Saturday night and asked the National… Continue reading

‘Extremely disturbing’: SF police chief condemns death of George Floyd

Bill Scott joins SFPOA, top cops nationwide in deeming incident a failure of policing

Haight Street group drops ties with prominent pro-Trump attorney

Amoeba, other merchants filed lawsuit seeking to block ‘Safe Sleeping’ site on Stanyan

CCSF board votes to close Fort Mason campus

College dropping lease on waterfront site to help close projected deficit

Most Read