It will surely interest the “Defund the Police” movement that San Francisco is paying out a combined $455,000 in settlements to a man SFPD shot in the back, and another they injured during the 2017 skateboard “hill bomb.”
One of the nationwide arguments for defunding the police is the astonishing dollar amount that cities pay in settlements for situations where police open fire too soon, or escalate situations by proceeding directly to excessive force. Bloomberg reports that in Chicago, for instance, the city coughs up $153 million a year for police misconduct settlements. San Francisco doesn’t pay that much on settlements, but in these sudden budget deficit times, the city will want to avoid the kinds of things we’re seeing in today’s San Francisco Examiner report that City Hall will pay $455,000 to settle two cases of excessive force, In one case the officer had several priors, in the other, the offending officer was not disciplined.
Longtime SFist readers will remember the July 2017 Dolores Park skateboard bomb, and the incriminating incident is seen in the video above. Yes, you are not supposed to ride your skateboard down Dolores Street, but a “pro wrestling clothesline” of a skateboard rider so they go tumbling into a police car into a car is not likely how police are trained to handle such things. That led to a serious escalation of tensions between the police and some 400 skateboarders, and now three years later, a negligence and excessive force settlement to the tune of $275,000 for the victim Anthony Economus.
With the city poised to pay out $180K over this SFPD shooting, here's our second-by-second breakdown of the event itself:https://t.co/wYcAy3Jov1— Joe Eskenazi (@EskSF) July 1, 2020
Of note: Officer involved, Joshua Caballo, shot dead 15-year-old in 2012. Was cleared, as he was here, but cost South SF $250K https://t.co/VUrzQwBCfV
The other big money settlement goes to Oliver Barcenas, whom SFPD had previously shot in 2012. (Fun fact: The shooting offer there was Toney Chaplin, who would go on to be interim SFPD chief in 2016). Barcenas had the poor fortune of being shot by SFPD again in 2018, hours after the Golden State Warriors won a championship. Mission Local has a minute-by-minute account of that shooting, spawned by just three guys drinking beer on the street, yet quickly escalated into gunfire, as Barcenas was carrying a weapon.
But the shooting officer, Joshua Cabillo, had already fatally shot a teenager in 2012 when he was a South San Francisco cop. He’d also been named in a 2015 lawsuit wherein several officers participated in the beating of a 23-year-old man, so Cabillo may not have been the most sterling hire.
“We thought that was something that should have been screened out before he was hired,” Barcenas’ attorney Jeffrey Bornstein told the Examiner. “And if they did hire someone like that, they should have been more trained and supervised.” (Unsurprisingly, Cabillo is now a rep for the very defensive San Francisco Police Officers Association.)
These settlements frankly aren’t even all that much by SFPD screwup standards. Wrongly accused Jamal Trulove got a $13 million settlement from the city, and back in the late 2000s, the city had to pay up $7.5 million for wrongful arrests. But in the current environment of skepticism toward over-policing and budgetary trouble, these settlements will likely bring further loss of clout to the SFPD.
Image: SFPD via Twitter