SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday announced a $17.5 million allocation in his budget aimed at reforming the police department over the next two fiscal years. The announcement comes in the wake of several deadly police shootings, several recent protests and preliminary findings from a task force revealing that racial bias is a problem in the department.
The bulk of the total amount, $11.5 million, has been set aside in the mayor's budget for violence prevention programs. $4.2 million has been set aside for the police department and for training officers on how to de-escalate situations they confront. Funding for 100 Tasers is also included, but would require the approval of the police commission.
"At the heart of these reforms, is to make sure we have the resources to implement them," Mayor Lee said. "We also want to have appropriate oversight."
Protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks and even stormed city hall last Friday to speak out against police violence and to demand that the mayor fire police Chief Greg Suhr. The mayor says he supports Suhr and Suhr said again on Tuesday he hasn't considered resigning, and that he's committed to helping change the department.
"They say your budget reflects your priorities and as outlined by the mayor, this budget emphasizes that we want to get to that better place," Suhr said.
Yayne Abeba, the spokesperson for the so-called "Frisco Five," a group of activists who ended their hunger strike over the weekend, said she's skeptical the mayor's reforms will work.
"It’s kind of disheartening. He thinks this is going to placate us," Abeba said. "The only thing that’s going to make us happy is if he listens to us... we don’t want tasers ... we want the chief of police to go."