Members of the police commission listen to public comment highlighting taser opposition during a meeting held at the Korean American Community Center in SFPD's Northern District of San Francisco, Calif. Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Residents again tell Police Commission they oppose stun guns

Plans to reintroduce stun guns to the San Francisco Police Department drew opposition at a recent Police Commission hearing as the body once again prepares to deliberate over the controversial tool.

“Why are they even being considered,” San Francisco resident Darrell Rogers said to the commission Wednesday night. “We don’t want Tasers in San Francisco.”

Rogers was one of six speakers who showed up to the meeting in opposition to the weapon, which they called dangerous, unnecessary and ineffective. No one from the public spoke in support of stun guns — often referred as Tasers, a widely used brand name.

The commission, which in recent years has heard the issue more than once, has never voted in favor of the weapon’s use. Its renewed consideration, according to Police Commission Vice President Thomas Mazzucco, is due to the Department of Justie’s review of the department, which found the tool should be considered as a less-lethal tool.

A working group to formulate a policy was set up following the recommendation, and Commissioner Sonia Melara has lead that effort. Melara said that the speakers on Wednesday night don’t necessarily represent all San Franciscans. To hear from a wide array of residents, two planned public listening sessions will be held in September.

At least one commissioner, Petra DeJesus, said she has felt that the process has not been inclusionary.
“I myself was excluded from the working group,” said DeJesus, who added that group was “hand-picked” and, hence, does not appear to have made up it’s mind on the matter.

Chief Bill Scott and the Police Officers Association support the introduction of stun guns as a less-lethal tool. The POA has specifically argued that the removal of carotid hold as a tactic — per the SFPD’s new use-of-force policy — gives police too few options other than firearms. Stun guns would fill that void, the union said.
Mazzucco said the commission has voted down stun guns twice in the past.

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