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Frustrated stakeholders disdain Newsom leadership
on police reform and community policing

A joint meeting panel composed of Police Commissioners and Supervisors convened
at Ella Hill Hutch Community Center on Wednesday. San Francisco residents adversely impacted by homicides attended the oft contentious meeting expressing dissatisfaction with City efforts to implement an effective community policing strategy.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy and Luke Thomas

Copyright fogcityjournal.com 2006

June 9, 2006

Pursuit of an agreed strategy for ending San Francisco gun violence ended directionless Wednesday as angry Western Addition stakeholders charged City officials with blood stained ineptitude.

Officials reluctantly abandoned meeting agenda, submitting to audience three-hour uproar that one preferred community plan was ignored for years.

The meeting ended without resolution.

Members of both the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors met jointly for the first time to hear from the Mayor's Office, the Police Chief, and the Office of Citizens Complaints.

Instead they heard accusations of inaction and disrespect.

Head of the NAACP San Francisco branch cut short Police Chief Heather Fong's report as the meeting began

Former Supervisor and local NAACP president Amos Brown complained that audience input was not scheduled first.

Amos Brown asks panelists to hear public comment before officials speak.

"This community... has been severely wounded and I don't think that it's respectful to come into the womb and not hear the patient first," stated Brown.

"The mayor can have all kinds of plans. We've been talking for years with mayors.

"If we really want to hear what the community is saying I think you should be respectful, hear them, or else they're going to get restless, upset, and tired and angry."

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who co-chaired the event with Police Commission president Louise Renee, responded the public would be better prepared to comment if it heard from the Mayor's Office first.

"If we don't listen to what the mayor's policy is we will not have an opportunity to counter, to say anything about it until after.

"This is an opportunity to find out where they are going and to tell them how we want to be linked. If we don't take the time to listen where will we be?"

Gun and Gang Violence Committee Chair Supervisor Sophie Maxwell

"Give me 20 minutes, give me 15, can I get 10 minutes?" Maxwell asked the audience to hear official reports.

Daniel Langry, Western Addition chair of the African American Community Police Relations Board (AACPRB) , shouted down Fong's concluding remarks.

Daniel Langry

"We are outraged at the response of the Board of Supervisors, in particular you Mr. Mirkarimi. We are outraged Sophie on how you are dealing with the Southeast branch over in Bayview-Hunters Point," Langry asserted. "And we are outraged at the Police Commission."

"You not from this community like I am," he explained.

Langry pointed to an AACPRB plan aimed at ending violence through community policing developed in 2002.

"This is a plan that is community driven. This is a plan that answers all of your questions... if you are sincere.

"When I came to you Mr. Mirkarimi a few days ago I asked you 'Let's meet'. You said get some guys and come clean up. That's the second time you have said that to me.

"You haven't had the respect and the decency to even call us when Proposition A was being crafted.

"Now where was Chris Daly at?

"When Chris -- when Proposition A was being crafted -- we should have been there.

Proposition A which seems headed to narrow defeat in Tuesday's election would have provided $10 million annual funding for violence suppression technology.

"So now we back at stage one.

"So now I say on behalf of the community, if you want to respect the community the first item on the agenda should have been the community."

"The African American Community Relations Board is in every district.

"It's in your district Sophie. You all agreed to the plan. We had town hall meetings all through 2005 and you put it on the record.

"You said, 'I agree with the plan'... but when you go publicly in front of the Supervisors, in front of the City, the plan never comes up.

"We're disrespected by everybody because Mr. Nance is not from Fillmore, he's not from San Francisco, and to come here and to help the mayor try to run and hide is not going down like that."

Allen Nance serves as director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

Nance initially declined to present the mayor's plan, citing solidarity with those who didn't want to hear it.

"I've sat here and listened to the public comment and I can tell you that we can present a plan to the community that tells the community what we intend to do to help the community, but this community has spoken to us," Nance stated.

Allen Nance

"This community has said loud and clear that they don't want to hear our plan.

"They believe that they have a plan to stem the violence.

"We have a responsibility to listen to the feedback that we have received, to take this feedback and incorporate it into a plan that this community embraces.

"Therefore I will not stand here before you today and present a plan from the Mayor's Office.

"I stand here in solidarity with this community that has spoken to say that we must, not may, but we must hear them out and provide them with an opportunity to get the results that this community deserves.

"And therefore I respectfully decline presenting a plan to this group at this time."

Maxwell suggested he do otherwise.

"I'm not going to let you off that easy," Maxwell told Nance.

"I want to hear right now where you are going, what direction you are going.

"You've heard the community's plan before. This isn't the first time you've heard it.

"Since you've heard it before, have you integrated anything in your report from what they said in your meetings with the African American Community Police Relations Board?"

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi recalled a time past when unified City strategy was announced.

"There was a plan - it wasn't just a plan, it was a commemorative press conference - a year ago that acknowledged a so-called plan.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi

"I feel like we're talking code. I mean everyone's talking about a plan. They're talking about it as we haven't even read it.

"I helped hatch that plan with (muslim minister) Christopher Mohammad, with Lt. Con Johnson, with representatives of the Mayor's Office.

"There was sort of a glorification of that plan last July.

"I appreciate this new religion but I don't think we should gloss over this in allowing the community to speak first and then upgrading whatever you were going speak about."

In response, Nance said current administration strategy is to develop and early warning system for detection of police misbehavior, increase officer recruitment, analyze deployment of officers and police district boundaries; streamline the officer hiring process, and improve police records management for better analysis of crimes.

The joint meeting of the Police Commission and Board of Supervisors adjourned without action or recommendations.




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