Gascon calls for appeal of body armor decision

Police Chief George Gascon sent letters Tuesday to Attorney General Jerry Brown and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu asking for help in overturning a court decision that would allow convicted felons to buy body armor.

Gascon sent the letters Tuesday following a state appeals court decision in Los Angeles that tossed a California law that prohibits convicted felons from wearing or possessing body armor. The Second District Court of Appeals said the law was too confusing to allow an average felon to determine which types of bulletproof vests are banned.

The “sensible law was passed in California to protect police against criminals wearing body armor after Vic Boutwell killed San Francisco Officer James Guelff in November 1994 and wounded another officer before being killed in a shootout,” Gascon wrote.

Guelff’s death is still a sore subject at the SFPD. Boutwell was dressed head to toe in body armor before heading out for a shooting spree. That shootout happened shortly after a North Hollywood shootout that ended up with 11 LAPD officers and six civilians wounded during an exchange of gunfire with two bank robbers wearing head-to-toe assembled body armor.

Gascon asked Chiu to pass a resolution calling for an appeal of the court’s decision, and he called on Brown, who is expected to run for governor in 2010, to appeal the court’s decision.

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