Suhr to testify on police bias, but roadblocks remain

In the first real sign of cooperation between the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office inquiry into police racial bias and misconduct, Chief Greg Suhr is set to testify today before the panel tasked with the inquiry.

Suhr, who had in the past questioned the panel’s authority, will testify before the panel as only the second active officer to do so.

Not all of the panel’s recent effort are being met with open arms despite Suhr’s testimony.

The San Francisco Police Commission refused to cooperate with a request made by the panel for documents. The commission voted Wednesday to deny the panel’s request for materials each commissioner is given upon taking their seats, saying it falls under attorney-client privilege.

“The City Attorney said the information was protected by attorney-client privilege and the commission would have to vote to waive it,” said commission President Suzy Loftus. “I agendized it for a vote on Wednesday. After a lengthy discussion and many questions for the panels representatives, [the] commission voted to send a summary of the documents rather than waiving the privilege.”

“We don’t necessarily agree that something prepared by an attorney” for the commissioners should fall under attorney-client privilege, said the Blue Ribbon Panel’s head Anand Subramanian.

But the commission’s refusal to hand over the documents may be challenged.

“We appreciate that the commission decided to consider waiving their privilege, but we are still evaluating our options, weighing whether to give the request [to] the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force,” said Subramanian.

The Police Department and the Police Officers Association have in the past voiced their opposition to requests made by the panel.

But in recent statements, the POA, at least, has denied it is acting to obstruct the process.

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