SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Union which represents the San Francisco Police Department filed a lawsuit in Superior Court for unfair labor practices on Tuesday, December 20. The lawsuit derives from the city’s recent passing of a legislature prohibiting officers from using chokeholds or carotid restraints on suspects. It also prohibits officers from firing at moving vehicles—which was recently approved by the Police Commission on Wednesday, December 21.
According to reports, the union is in disagreement with the recently passed law, stating that the Police Commission “prematurely declared an impasse in negotiations in October and has refused to bargain further on the issue of whether officers can fire at moving vehicles.” The union is working to halt the implementation of the new policy in order to revert to negotiations or arbitration instead.
The lawsuit claims that city negotiators verbally agreed to allow police officers the right to shoot at vehicles with exceptions such as terrorist attacks. According to Union President Martin Halloran, this agreement never made it into writing.
“They [city negotiators] sign agreements on one day, and renege on them the next,” said Halloran.
Police Commission president Suzy Loftus, suggested that each incident would be based on a “case-to-case basis,” in response to the counts of incidents that have backfired since the introduction of the ban in 2011 by Chief Greg Suhr.
“There is a strict ban in this policy on shooting at cars and there is also an awareness that we cannot predict every situation that officers may face,” Loftus said.
The ban on carotid restraints and shooting at moving vehicles were both supported by the U.S. Department of Justice as of Tuesday, December 20. SFPD Commissioner Joseph Marshall and SF Mayor Edwin M. Lee have both stated that the ban against carotid restraints and shooting at moving vehicles, amongst the other 272 recently passed reforms, would be put into action.