Clockwise, from upper left, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Diana Oliva-Aroche of the Mayor’s Office and supervisors Ahsha Safai and Shamann Walton considered strengthening laws on police hiring in a committee meeting on Friday.

Proposal to ban hiring of officers with histories of misconduct moves forward

A resolution urging city officials to implement a blanket ban on hiring police officers and sheriff’s deputies with histories or complaints of serious misconduct is expected to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The proposal from Supervisor Shamann Walton and District Attorney Chesa Boudin cleared a Board of Supervisors committee Friday afternoon with a 3-0 vote and the support of 10 supervisors.

The resolution calls on the Civil Service Commission to establish rules to prohibit the hiring of any peace officer who has either a sustained finding or two unsustained complaints of serious misconduct in their past, including for racial bias, excessive force or sexual assault.

The resolution also seeks to prevent officers who quit while under investigation for allegations of serious misconduct from being hired by San Francisco’s police or sheriff’s departments.

Walton introduced the resolution on June 2 in response to the killing of George Floyd, who died at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer who reportedly had 18 complaints of misconduct in his past. The officer has since been fired and charged with murder.

“We are tired of all these injustices that already exist in our community,” Walton said at the committee hearing. “We do not need racist and prejudicial individuals in law enforcement picking off black people and people of color at will.”

Boudin argued that the policy is needed because officers who face discipline are known to quit before an agency can sustain an allegation of misconduct against them and transfer to another department.

Combined with a lack of transparency around police disciplinary records, he said it is hard for the public to know whether officers who faced discipline are being hired by other agencies.

“This policy, if adopted by the Civil Service Commission, will ensure that even when the public can’t have access to all the information it deserves, that at a minimum the public is guaranteed that San Francisco law enforcement personnel have a pristine discipline record,” Boudin said.

The San Francisco Examiner recently reported on the issue when records showed that an officer involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless immigrant quit while facing discipline for needlessly escalating the situation and landed a job at another Bay Area agency.

Along with Walton, supervisors Catherine Stefani and Ahsha Safai voted to move the resolution forward to the full board on June 23.

“This is an absolute no brainer,” Stefani said. “It should be policy now. I want to do everything I can to help support it.”

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