SF Police Commission meeting canceled, postponing action on use of force policy

Wednesday night’s Police Commission meeting has been canceled, which will once again postpone action over a heated use of force policy impasse.

Last week, the commission was set to take action on the stalled implementation of a use of force policy the body passed in June, and which focused attention on de-escalation techniques that are aimed at reducing the number of fatal encounters people have with police.

The impasse with the San Francisco Police Officers Association came in November after months of negotiations with The City. The union will not bend when it comes to a policy that bars officers from shooting at moving vehicles in most instances. The union has argued in television advertisements that such a policy would endanger lives

The commission’s policy — which bars officers from doing so in most instances but does carve out an exception in some circumstances — is recognized nationwide as a best practice.

Last week, a city Human Resources spokesperson told the commission that it was not legally required to meet and confer on the subject, leaving commission with the power to either call in an arbiter, or fully implement the policy and face the possibility of a lawsuit from the POA.

The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 21 with an action item on the use of force policy on the agenda.

It’s unclear if Wednesday’s meeting — and a decision on the policy impasse — was in part because a commission seat that was filled Tuesday night by Bill Ong Hing was, until now, empty.

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