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Monday, October 18, 2021

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News + PoliticsQuestions loom as Police Commission President Suzy Loftus steps...

Questions loom as Police Commission President Suzy Loftus steps down

Activists say new commission member should be a defense lawyer, not a prosecutor

On Tuesday, Suzy Loftus announced that she was stepping down from her position as President of the Police Commission to take up a job at the Sheriff’s department. Wednesday was her last Police Commission meeting. 

Loftus previously worked in the Attorney General’s office and will now be taking up the new role as the Sheriff Department’s assistant chief legal counsel. 

Loftus was at odds with the notorious Police Officer’s Association over the use of force policy reform served the board for two years. She saw the commission through a federal review, dozens of protests calling for the ouster of former police Chief Suhr, the selection of the new police Chief William Scott and the battle against the POA on the police department’s use of force policy. 

Mayor Ed Lee will now have to appoint a new member of the Police Commission to fill her seat. 

Former ACLU police watchdog John Crew said that even though he often criticized Loftus he believed she was genuine about reform: “I never doubted for once that she wasn’t genuine about her commitment to reform. We may have disagreed on the process but Loftus was always on board with 21st century policing and genuinely pushed for reforms.” Crew said the appointment of the new member would be critical to police reform: “We need someone who is on board with reforms, who believes in 21st century policy and who is able to stand their ground against the antics of the POA.” 

Crew said the POA has made police reform work even more difficult: “They have built a narrative where talking about reform is somehow seen as cop bating, they have drawn the lines and they seem to be standing with Trump’s standard of policing which has no place in the city.” 

Crew suggested that with Loftis gone there’s an opportunity to bring balance: “The Police commission is dominated with people who have background as prosecutors so it would be good to get a defense lawyer on board. If it is somebody with a criminal justice background it should be a criminal defense lawyer as they tend to look at the issues in a very different way.”

 

 

 

Sana Saleem
Sana Saleem is a writer with a focus on social justice and human stories. She's member board of advisory for the Courage Foundation, Edward Snowden's legal defense fund.
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