The family of Oliver Lefiti loudly criticized the San Francisco Police Department on Wednesday just before the Police Commission decided in closed session whether to send the two officers involved in his shooting death back to work.
During an uncharacteristically conversational public comment period, Commissioner Joe Marshall and Police Commission President Louise Renne directly addressed members of Lefiti’s family and their supporters, who blasted the department for what they said was a lack of communication after Lefiti’s shooting death.
Officers Jamie Hyun, a veteran of nearly four years, and Gerard Arquero, who has been with the department for six years, have been on administrative leave since June 24, when the officers opened fire on Lefiti while he allegedly drove his car at them after they stopped him on suspicion of drug dealing.
The commission met with Chief Heather Fong and acting Deputy Chief Charles Keohane in closed session to determine the officers’ status, but members voted not to make their decision public.
The incident was the department’s fourth officer-involved shooting of the year and the second to end in death. Three of those incidents involved suspects allegedly trying to ram officers with their cars.
Earlier in June, Asa Sullivan was shot and killed in the attic of a Park Merced apartment when two officers trying to arrest him thought he was pointing a gun at them. Sullivan was found to be unarmed.
Police are investigating an April incident in which officers chased the suspect of a Mission District robbery to Treasure Island before shooting and wounding him. They are also examining an officer-involved shooting in May in which a cornered robbery suspect allegedly attempted to ram officers with his car near South Park Avenue.
In March, California Highway Patrol officers opened fire and killed a woman who tried to ram their cars when they cornered her in San Francisco after a high-speed chase.
On Wednesday, members of Lefiti’s family, wearing T-shirts that read “Big O rest in paradise, I’ll see you when I get there,” addressed the commission. His brother, Michael Lefiti, and his widow, Wendy Timbreza, said the department had not contacted them regarding Oliver Lefiti’s death.
But Chief Fong said a representative from the department had talked to at least one member of the family and that several unreturned voice mail messages had been left for others.
In response to the criticism, the commission, departing from its usual silence during public comment, addressed the family’s concerns. Renne asked Fong to provide a letter to the commission detailing the communication the department made and attempted with the family. The commission also asked Timbreza and Michael Lefiti to represent the family before the department in future communication.