tv [untitled] December 20, 2012 1:00pm-1:30pm PST
something who has dealt with it myself. it puts those folks in crisis at greater risk of encountering tasers, not to say that anybody should encounter tasers. if it is only going to crisis trained officers they will see the tasers first, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> next speaker please? >> micala davis i am an attorney with the aclu of california, most of the supervisors have a copy of the letter that we sent to mayor lee this summer which outlines a majority of our position. but i would like to highlight a few issues here today. we believe that other speakers have said that the police department fulfills the obligation to fully implement the cit program and unless and until they complete a stud yf all less lethal alternatives and complete the obligation to meet with the community members on this issue that it is entirely premature to investigate a pilot program for
tasers in this city, had the department moved more quickly to implement the cit training the incident this summer may have been avoided. tasers constitute a significant level of force as we have heard today. too often, they are viewed as homeless, non-lethal devices that temporarily incompass taits that is false. when use as intended they cause pain and as we have seen across the nation they pose a risk of serious jury or death. >> as you have heard today, in particular people with mental health problem are more likely to be at high risk of death, and with that high population in san francisco and coming in contact often with the san francisco police department, we don't want to run a risk of that population being impacted. and the aclu is also concerned with the civil rights implications that the supervisors spoke of today. you know, across the nation and in san francisco, you will see
the african american communities of color are impacted by accessive use of force that would lead us to believe that once they are instituted they would also be disproportionately used against the xhupts of color. because they are easy to use it will increase over use and officers will be use it as the first line rather than reverting to what they used in training such as verbal commands and we also have outlined many incidents of litigation that have occurred... >> just some follow up questions. did you ever get a response from the mayor on your letter? >> no, we did not. >> and any of the staff in >> no. >> i think that the letter was actually really well done and it is well documented and there are a number of citations in here, do you recall what i read to commander ali, right now, referencing how it looks to be when tasers are involved in
working with people who have mental health issues or who have drug use in their system, that increases the amount of injury that happens when making contact with such folks. >> yes, that is correct. and that is exactly why we think that especially one of the proposals put form to arm the cit officers in particular with the weapons runs in the con tarry. >> are you familiar with the study of the university of florida, i am wondering how widespread does that look at it. and does it like at highway patrol or highway patrol agencies or just anywhere where the cases were applied and look in the jail systems. >> i have to go back and take a look at that. but i know that there are a number of studies and some since that have looked across the nation and different municipalities i know that other agencies have looked at
this as well and i can find that for you and follow up. >> how do you know that being tased just does not result in muscle contraction but actually results in the experience of excruciating pain. >> i have not been tased and i would approach that with dreptation. you will see that there are numerous incidents of how the body reacts and has the 50,000 volts struck through you and in addition to the pain caused by that electric volt there is a risk of the increase of injury caused by the incident, if you are struck and you fall and you hit your head, that use of the taser increases further struggle and escalate that incident into a much more lethal situation, that can also cause injury from other uses of force as well not just tasers. >> it is here that even though you might get 50,000 volts, that there is amps that reduce what the impact is. do you know about how that
might work? are you an electrician as well? >> i am not. i know some jurisdictions that have put in place the tasers have experienced that the officers will over use the tasers and so you know one thing that we have heard is that this happens for about five seconds. but officers there is nothing to stop an officer in at least some of the tasers models from repeatedly deploying that charge. so especially from the accessive use of force cases that you will see is cases in which the officers will deploy, 1, 2, 3, 4, a number of times, on people that are not responding, and that increases that volt each time. >> we also have the use of tasers in san francisco, and in our jails and the sheriff department. has the aclu looked at the use of tasers in the department and what in terms of injury or in
terms of even death that may have occurred? >> i don't know that we have looked recently at the sheriff's department but i can look into that. one difference between custody use and the patrol use, they don't believe that it should be used with the sheriff either. but the reality is that the police department are the ones out on the street in parole much more often and those are the ones encountering individuals in crisis who may be acting in a state, and maybe acting overly aggressive and maybe a harm to themselves and so the san francisco police department there is not quite the exact you can't equate the two to the in custody use and the parole use. >> and supervisor campos mentioned the increased liability and impacts to what the police departments may experience in terms of paying out federal loans or court
cases could you talk about that? >> there have been a number of cases in the bay area and around the nation and in california and in northern california. and what we highlight in the letter are the recent examples in which especially in northern california, the juries are likely to pay out higher settlement amounts and that is something that should concern the supervisors in terms of liability. not only in the cases where a death was caused but in a situation where it was used that it amounted for an accessive use of force. you will have juries around california handing out multimillion-dollar verdicts and cities and counties settling for the officers misusing these die vices and i have no doubt that some of the population, here that would be disproportionately impacted would probably have a problem and file suit. >> in san francisco, we would apply tasers here, we would
have rules about how they are used. but, i guess, there is no rules anywhere else about how they are applied because they are cases of possible abuse and settlements or that settlements occurred or does that mean that there are lower standards for how they are used and applied. >> you will see different policies across different jurisdictions. >> what those draft policy here does is it is not specific, where in the continuing of force that a taser is to be used we have heard conflicting things out of the department and at some point we heard that they want to use it in instances where a firearm would be used. more often we they hader that can be used to curb someone's aggression and one of the uses can be more easily to bring someone into custody or put them under control. and so, you will see in jurisdictions that have a
higher standard of care, you know, they will specify, that this is only to be used in those most serious situations, where there is very, a risk of serious injury or imminent death and the draft policy does not indicate that that seems to be the case here. >> so from your... how long have you been monitoring the discussion about tasers in san francisco? >> this has been the aclu has been involved in the conversation i believe for the last three years or so. but, in this specific grounds of the ask for tasers, but it has been an issue that concerned the organization since the tasers have been introduced. >> do you feel that, you know, the police one to use these as the pilot program, is that the only way that the police commission has been approached about wanting to improvement the taser program or actually broader in the past. >> it has been broader, you know, the move towards wanting to arm the cit officers only
has come in response to increased criticism and that is a round about way to sort of introduce tasers into the department. you know, the fact of the matter is that the department seems to continually request these tasers, and every time that an incident happens in which there is something that it can capitolize on such as the shooting of the man armed with the box cutter. what we have seen is that we don't think that there is a demonstrated need over the last three years for example, as the successive administrations and the department have asked for tasers, we don't see a change or an example of that officers are really unequipped to do their job with the tools that they have. >> my last question. we will get to other folks. and your understanding of how tasers are on mried in different jurisdictions, is it the exception or the rule that
there are more smaller portions of the police department that%backer using the tasers? are there more or every officer has a taser in most jurisdictions? >> i would have to take a closer look at that. but i believe in many jurisdictions that it is across the board use. i don't think that you see too many jurisdictions in which you have a cit officer, for example as is proposed here or one of the proposals here. and so, i think that we see the risk if this is introduced as a pilot program and we see that once that this becomes institutionalized that we do run the risk of this becoming a department-wide phenomena and since the department has shown itself to be some what flow, for example, in instituting cit we really have questions about if and when that taser, that the tasers are kind of spread to the rest of department, is the department able to keep up with the necessary training,
monitoring, you know, both on the front and the back end that is needed to keep this or to have a safe taser use policy. we have big questions about whether or not they will be able to keep up with that. >> okay. >> do you have anything else to add? >> i think that i have said anything and i am available for further questions, if any of the supervisors have questions about what is in our letter. in closing, i would like to say, again, the message is that this is entirely premature, you know unless and until the department shows that it has looked at all of the other options available, and you know, even by saying that yes, it is only a pilot program, there is no reason even for a pilot program until the cit model has been fully implemented and we have done the proper research. >> okay, thank you. >> i am going to call a few more cards. >> robert weber, and terry cook, aaron flinn, if you want to line up against the wall that i am pointing at and
andrew mendez. delora yarburo. >> good morning, supervisors. robert weber and i am a activist and organizer and i would like to state that while an alternative to firearm may sound to some as a positive alternative, i would hope the board and all considered to look to the scientific community to come up with a more humane method of subduing these non-cooperative suspects. my personal concern of abuse or possible abuse of the taser is founded on personal witness as well as historical fact. and thank you very much for your time. >> next speaker, please? >> hello, my name is terry coch and i represent the national
lawyers guild and i am here to talk about why we oppose this. personally i worked as an attorney for mentally ill people and i am under court appointment in many of those cases. in san francisco. the ones that i work with, and are fortunate enough to respond to treatment are released into the community. and these are the people that we are talking about when you talk about crisis intervention. personality, i have a little trouble walking and i would hate to think that that would get me tased. but you know what? it could. if somebody has to sit down and is also in crisis, i don't believe that they are going to get ut and take care of business the way that we want them to and respond to crisis intervention by getting a jolt of 50,000 volts. and we do know that homeless people are more likely to have
physical problems. we know that persons in crisis, react differently to physical reactions. and in fact, it is possible that with adrenaline and various other functions of our body, that a jolt of 50,000 volts with add both to our crisis and to possible mal adaptive reactions. thank you very much. >> thank you, next speaker, please? >> good afternoon, my name is andrew mendes and i am a san francisco resident and a volunteer of the coalition of homelessness. just to echo the sentiment of my colleagues, the crisis intervention team is nowhere being completely implemented none of the other parts of the program have been deployed. there is a 911 protocol that is
meant to be deployed where the dispatch is flagged. there is no changing of protocol to responding to crisis and putting the cit officers in charge of the scene or the intense evaluation in the field. tasers would kill the effort before it has truly gone off the ground and the remarks about or by the police chief sure saying now the chief is gone. and well, let's see. the remarks by the police chief shore to say that it is memphis plus is not factual and comments by commander ali saying that words don't work sometimes when in fact the whole point of cit is to deal with people who are unable to respond to verbal commands, or
traditional command and control techniques sos the fundamental lack of... of the pd or perhaps understanding what a crisis intervention team is meant to be. also on the side, when i was a student i worked at a law firm and one of the cases was a class action suit was against manufacturers of electronic external defibrillators. so, i don't, i left the firm before the out come of this case was, i don't know the out come. but the fact that it had already gone to litigation might be useful in your cost analysis for the implementation. >> thank you. >> next speaker, please? >> hi, my name is delara yarbro and i would like to say that we have heard some powerful from the officers and i really feel for those officers who wish that some sort of magic bullet existed and wished that
something could have been different. as a sociologyist i really like to look at statistics and data. so my question is what do studies, academic studies, large, studies and peer reviewed academic journals tell us about what happens when departments get tasers? and what they tell us is that fatalities actually go up immediately, subsequently to the introduction of tasers. i have a 2009 study from the american journal of cardology done by cardologyist at our very own usfc, if you are interested i can e-mail you the file. i want to encourage people to think about where the data is coming from and to ask
questions of the experts. so mental health professionals, doctors, we should be asking doctors how do tasers work? how does that electricity work? in the body of someone with a heart arythmia that you can't tell by looking on. please let me know if you would like a copy of that. >> i would like a copy of that. >> is that study that looked at 84 california police departments? >> yes. >> thank you. >> if you could supply it for all of our offices that will be great. >> next speaker and i am going to call a few names before you speak. >> hope, dennis dean, michael lion. arao, and kenny levels. >> my name is aaron flinn and i am from the hospitality house
and it was mentioned earlier in rubber bullets, i can saying that... >> i cannot hear you. >> i just repeat that. >> item was mentioned earlier and in the use of rubber bullets and i lived in europe for a long time and i can safely say that all weapons are harmless and tasers are no exception. even though they are disguised as a less lethal option and amnesty international reported that 500 people in the u.s. died since 2001 in california alone. we know that mentally ill people are particular risk but so are others, such as elderly, pregnant woman, and people with heart problems and drug users. i believe that there needs to be another alternative for crisis intervention teams and one without weapons. thank you.
>> hope, as the founder, i have been for 40 years, and needless to say in that time i have encountered many people in crisis, and i am 76 years old and i am still there, and i hope that we will not put tasers in the hands of our police officers or anyone else especially those dealing with people in crisis. and i have dealt with many people in crisis, on the street, in our facilities and in our safe house for the homeless, addicted prostituted women who are trying to change their lives. i shutter to think what would happen if any of these women already so severely traumatized had been struck with tasers. we have one woman who suffered ritual abuse in piping by her parents from an early age we never know what will trigger her into aggressive behavior and she is about twice my size and i have to enter pose my
tiny body between her and others more than once. but, always we have been able to bring her down. i do appreciate the police, and i appreciate the homeless out reach team who deal with this over and over. and i beg you, please, do not allow tasers. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. i want to ask the police department to learn the side step when someone is coming towards you, with a knife, you learn the side step. i'm disabled and 79, and can do the side step, tasers and guns are not just about equal, or just about equal in the damage that they do to humans, not
acceptable, period. the side step. >> and someone is approaching you with a little knife do the side step, thank you. >> next speaker please? >> michael lion, san francisco, gray panthers are absolutely against the use of tasers by the police in any kind of way. i particularly object to the calling them non-lethal. what you are asking to do is to have a police officer make a snap judgment on the medical condition of someone that they are about to tase. i look fairly hail and hearty, but i have had a triple by pass, who is to make a judgment on me? are tasers necessary for this? i would say, no.
psych tech, works in a job where we are working with mentally ill people, they don't use them. okay, you could argue well in the environment of a hospital the psych teches work there are no weapons, but that argument holds no, does not have any validity because the vast majority of cases where people are tased no weapon was involved on the part of the victim. it is true that the... it is true that there is a higher percentage of them that have been tased. this is from national data. and i think that it is also just manifestly obvious that it is going to be used for in cases of lack of compliance, rather than dangers, no tasers.
>> i oppose the use of tasers and i am not from the city but i have friends and family here in sf and i am from southern county and i am here because i would oppose the use of tasers in my city just as would oppose it and i am taking steps to make sure that the county is addressing these concerns. and i lived in the city for series of years when i got my ba in psychology at san francisco state and i am also a social worker. and general and i want to say that in does not take a rocket scientist to speculate that tasers will or will not do harm to someone who has been traumatized. it is obvious that it will. with health problems and heart, and traumaization that is a given. it is interesting that this is being brought up to, before the crisis team has happened. i could maybe, understand, maybe understand if they wanted
to bring in the tasers after a few years of the pilot program, but to do this right away is obviously counter productive to a crisis team. like many people have said, we all come from families we all have also our jobs and we work personally and professionally with people in crisis, you have heard people say never have we thought that we need to use a taser. i have been in a series of parties with friends who end up hurting each other bad i never feel that a taser would deescalate any of those situations. so that is all that i got to say. and again, there is plenty of people in the medical field and doctor and they are not running to the arms of taser industry to ask to use tasers, i think that is counter productive. and yeah tha, is all that i got to say. and obviously i want to sort of break it back by there is an issue of money at stake in terms of tasers and big industry and that is m where down the line and we end the culture and we need to create
healthy communities. >> thank you very much. >> next speaker, please? >> good afternoon, my name is kenneth levels and i am a proud citizen of san francisco and a city college full time student and i also live in a homeless shelter here in san francisco. and two years ago i was diagnosed with depression and anxiety as well as ptsd and i have been receiving treatment forthe last two years, with substance abuse counseling around harm reduction. and i have seen a life change in two years like i could not imagine. having said that, i just like to share one incident with the police, not with the san francisco police,. i was living in dublin five years ago and i worked here in the city and so, this was a 15-minute ride and so i had to fall asleep and take a nap. so this day like usual, i had
fallen asleep the train was delayed and i didn't know why but i had plenty of time to get to work. suddenly i was awakened by five police officers with their hands on the weapons. and it startled me to the point where i jumped out of my seat and one of the officers shoved me in the seat and said we got a report that there was a black man that has or a woman said that there was a black man carrying a gun and wearing a long coat. i had a jacket on and it was covering me when i was asleep, it was not long at all. i had probably touched a gun twice in my life, i don't like guns. and never carry one. but it was just the way that whole thing was handled and then you think if there was a report of a white man in a long coat, would they have gone to every white man on the train to look and search through everything of mine, cutting my down. it was a horrible violation.
and it triggered my ptsd and because i could not sleep for a week after that. and i could not... that day at work they sent me home early because i was so shaken up by the incident and so i am just saying, if you add a taser to that, you know, that equation, i just imagine how worse off it could be. >> thank you very much. >> i have a quick question for you, sir. >> so, just you know you mentioned that you know if they had had a taser how do you think that would have had an impact on your personal recovery. >> to be honest with you. >> i would imagine that being shocked and then being shocked with the electric jolt of a taser would impact my mental health. and as well, being in the shelter with other people who a majority of them are dealing with issues most of