Former Police Commission President Julius Turman, the labor and employment attorney who served as a commissioner from 2011 until his resignation earlier this month, has died, the San Francisco Police Department said Sunday. He was 52.
Turman served as vice president and then president of the Police Commission as the department implemented recommendations for reform from the U.S. Department of Justice, equipped its officers with body-worn cameras and searched for a new police chief.
“Commissioner Turman was a tremendously intelligent and compassionate man who cared deeply about this department,” SFPD Chief Bill Scott said in a statement. “He worked to help us increase trust and respect and was relentlessly focused on bringing forth the best practices, policies and procedures to the San Francisco Police Department. We are grateful for his dedication and hard work and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
The SFPD did not offer further details about his death. NBC Bay Area reported Turman was found dead inside his home Sunday afternoon.
Turman officially stepped down from the Police Commission May 4, two days after attending his last commission meeting. In April, Turman told the San Francisco Examiner he planned to resign, citing the heavy workload.
“I’m tired,” Turman said, adding that he first announced his resignation to a police academy class in December. “It was time to let new ideas in.”
Police Commission President Thomas Mazzucco said “Julius was dedicated to breaking down barriers and building bridges between people.”
“In the weeks before his passing, he demonstrated strength and fortitude to ensure that the important work of the Police Commission would continue,” Mazzucco said in a statement. “Julius cared about the relationship between the SFPD and the people of our great city. He was a true San Franciscan and has earned the right to be called one of our finest.”
Mayor Mark Farrell has directed flags to be flown at half-staff on Monday from sunrise to sunset at City Hall and SFPD buildings.
“Julius was a civic leader, proud defender of human rights and a fierce advocate for equality and justice,” Farrell said in a statement. “Julius always spoke forcefully, yet truly, and he gained the well-earned respect of his colleagues and peers for his clear passion and dedication to serving the people of this city.”
In his resignation letter to the commission, Turman wrote that “Being on the Police Commission has been one of the most significant and important positions I have ever had the honor to serve on.”
“I will forever be grateful,” Turman said.