The condition of a man shot by officers with the San Francisco Police Department Friday has worsened over the weekend, as the union that represents officers and the commission that oversees them fight over the policies that led to his injury.
As previously reported, a man was shot by police officers called to a residence on the 500 block of Capitol Avenue, which is between Lobos and Minerva Streets, at 3:51 a.m. Friday on reports of a restraining order violation.
When officers arrived, they discovered two male neighbors engaged in an ongoing dispute. Officers pepper sprayed one of the men, then shot him when he allegedly reached for one of their batons. He retreated into his home, and was eventually taken into custody after a SWAT team stormed his residence. Two officers also suffered minor injuries during the confrontation, and both were treated and released.
The man who was shot was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with injuries police said were not life threatening, However, on Saturday SFPD spokesperson Officer Giselle Talkoff sent an alert to media saying the man's condition had been "changed to life threatening status," but declined to offer any further details.
According to additional details reported by the SF Chronicle this weekend, the restraining order against the man who was shot was served on December 23, as he "had been been making threatening remarks to the family next door ever since a criminal protective order was granted after he allegedly assaulted the family’s adult son in 2011."
He was "sentenced to 60 days in county jail and three-years probation. He was also ordered to stay away from the son and his family under a criminal protective order" following the alleged assault. When the order expired, the man "began standing on the sidewalk outside their home, saying he was going to kill the 67-year-old family patriarch."
As this man fights for his life, the San Francisco Police Officers Association and the San Francisco Police Commission are engaged in a different fight, one on the role the department's use of force policies might have played in the shooting.
On Friday, just hours after the shooting, SF POA president Martin Halloran released a statement that said in part that the man “never would have been shot at all if officers had ‘less than lethal’ options such as Tasers (and) carotid restraint available.”
In December, San Francisco's Police Commission passed a revised use of force policy last month that, among other things, prohibits carotid holds on recommendation of the Department of Justice.
Saying that a carotid hold “would have been very useful in this situation,” he also said that the Commission's opposition to stun guns was also at fault, “even though every other major city allows officers this less-than-lethal option.”
Critics of stun guns say that the devices also pose risks, and that police should learn deescalation techniques instead of how to use another weapon. When the issue came up at a Police Commission meeting last April, Public Defender Jeff Adachi say that "This policy change should focus on use of force and not introducing another weapon that has been proven to be unsafe."
In response to Halloran, Police Commission president Suzy Loftus said that via statement that “it is far too early to make conclusions about what happened" but that “While these independent investigations are ongoing, the Police Commission is committed to continuing the collaborative efforts to keep San Francisco safe and ensure that the men and women who protect this city have the training and tools needed to preserve the sanctity of life for all involved."