Mayor Ed Lee. (Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Police union slams mayor for remarks against officer in Bayview shooting

The often bellicose San Francisco police union has now aimed its rhetorical prowess at The City’s mayor, a week after their favored chief was forced to resign following another police killing.

This time — in a letter — the union’s president has attacked Mayor Ed Lee because of comments he made about last week’s fatal police shooting to the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial board meeting Thursday.

“Your comments to the San Francisco Chronicle on May 26 appalled me,” wrote union head Martin Halloran in a letter to the mayor Friday. “I consider them a slap in the face to all members of the San Francisco Police Officers Association.”

Lee told the editorial board that he thought “there has to be consequences” for the unnamed sergeant who shot and killed Jessica Williams, 29, last week.

“I don’t know what the circumstances were in the Bayview that caused the officer to need to shoot,” Lee said Thursday, according to the newspaper. “I just don’t know that, and until we hear what that is, it generally falls in my opinion in the category of, ‘Thou shalt not.’”

To what degree the union’s continued friction with City Hall will bleed over into a more aggressive opposition to the Police Commission led reforms of use of force policies remains to be seen.

The union is already displeased at the departure of former Chief Greg Suhr following the shooting death of Williams. The mayor called for Suhr’s resignation hours after the shooting, despite only days before voicing his support for the embattled chief.

So far, interim Chief Toney Chaplin, who has promised to continue with Suhr’s reforms package, has been given the backing by the union despite grumblings in the ranks about the pace and nature of those reforms. Reforms are centered around de-escalation tactics and less-than-lethal uses of force in order to reduce the number of fatalities at the hands of police .

The letter goes on to argue the mayor should let the investigations that are underway proceed and give the officer involved due process before publicly convicting him.

“Sadly, you have publicly tarnished the reputation of a 15-year veteran of this department with your damaging remark,” continued the letter. “You have used your high office to prematurely condemn him by making prejudicial statements.”

The Mayor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the letter.


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

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