Tempers flare at community meeting about SFPD reforms

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The U.S Department of Justice hosted the first in a series of listening sessions Wednesday night, to get feedback from the community about the San Francisco Police Department.

There was anger, resentment and mistrust in the crowd of about 100 who gathered at Thurgood Marshall High.

Most in attendance addressed the DOJ panel scrutinizing police and the panel itself.

“This is nothing more than window dressing,” shouted Phelicia Jones, coordinator for the Justice for Mario Woods Coalition. 

The Department of Justice is doing a top to bottom voluntary assessment of SFPD policies and procedures, but it is not looking into the specifics of December's fatal shooting of 26-year-old Woods

The stabbing suspect was shot multiple times after police say he refused to put down his knife.

Jones said the federal review doesn’t go far enough.

“We demand. We’re not asking. We’re not begging.  We are demanding justice for our brother, Mario Woods,” she told the panel.

Noble Wray leads the DOJ policing practices reform program which is spearheading the wide-ranging federal probe of the police department.

“Things like use of force.  It may be bias policing.  It may be complaint investigations.  It may be training,” Wray said. “That assessment will lead us putting together a series of findings and recommendations.”

While many of the speakers questioned the objectivity of the review, San Francisco resident Uzuri Pease-Green, called it an important step.

“Identify what things need to be changed.  How we can come up with this change and what would help make it better,” she said. “It’s good. It’s going to help.”

Two more listening sessions are planned for next month.
The review is expected to take about two years and will include public reports every six months.
San Francisco is the 10th law enforcement agency to be reviewed since the special DOJ office was created in 2011.