Amid the ongoing outcry over the SFPD's actions in the shooting of Mario Woods last month, and the subsequent attempted justification of those actions by police chief Greg Suhr, Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius would like everyone to just calm down. In an oddly toned new column, Nevius tries to have Suhr's back as Suhr tries to negotiate the testy political climate around the officer-involved shooting and a couple of others that came before it (Alex Nieto and Amilcar Perez-Lopez). But he mostly succeeds in downplaying the passionate calls for change and justice by protesters, and in painting Suhr as a victim of rumor and public scorn who's trapped between the competing interests of politicians and the Police Officers Association.
Whether or not Suhr will emerge from this scandal unscathed remains to be seen and Nevius acknowledges the difficulty of defending a department in the case after it had already been shown to have over a dozen officers who were exchanging "the worst sort of homophobic and racist text messages."
Suhr wants to set the record straight about a December community meeting in which he said he was kicked from behind by attendees. SF Weekly attempted to discredit Suhr's account, saying there was no report filed about the incident and Nevius acknowledges the piece without naming the paper. Suhr now says, "I was kicked in the side of the knee on the way back from the bathroom... I wasn’t hurt. I did not make a complaint. And did that really seem to be the meeting to make an arrest?” And he's bothered that anyone would suggest he'd previously lied about this.
Nevius also points out that there's been a threat against Suhr's life an arrest has been made in that case, and the individual was already known to the department and that Suhr has already made some changes to firearm training and "requested a review of the [Mario Woods] shooting by the Department of Justice."
Regardless of whether you agree that Suhr needs a defender in these times of "hot rhetoric" and "innuendo," I think we can all agree that this column cynically glosses over some uncomfortable facts and a lot of video in the Mario Woods case in order to promote the idea that Suhr shouldn't be held responsible, and that he's already been through enough.
Previous C.W. Nevius coverage on SFist.