DOJ To Hold First Community Meeting On SFPD Reforms This Evening

U.S. Department of Justice officials will hold their first “listening session” in San Francisco’s Silver Terrace neighborhood this evening as part of their collaborative review of the Police Department’s policies and practices, police said.

The meetings are the first step in the Justice Department’s review “to provide a forum in which members of the community are able to express their suggestions, concerns and ideas to the DOJ collaborative team,” police said.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Thurgood Marshall High School at 45 Conkling St., police said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee requested the review after public backlash from the December fatal shooting of 26-year-old Mario Woods, a stabbing suspect allegedly armed with a knife who was shot by five officers in the Bayview District, not far from the site of today’s meeting.

The review is part of the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services reform initiative, a collaboration where Justice Department officials review a department’s procedures and make recommendations for improvements.

San Francisco is the 10th city to participate in the 4-year-old program.

The probe isn’t into any particular incident, such as what led to Woods’ shooting or revelations last year that about a dozen officers traded racist text messages, but simply to review the department’s overall practices.

Attorney John Burris, who is representing Woods’ family, expressed disappointment when the review was announced earlier this month that a civil rights probe with stricter enforcement mechanisms wasn’t being conducted as he had requested. He called the review “half a loaf.”

Police Chief Greg Suhr has been doing his own review of the department’s use of force policy following Woods’ death, announcing a comprehensive new policy that the city’s Police Commission plans to send to the Justice Department for review later this year.

Scott Morris, Bay City News

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