In a closed session this week the San Francisco Police Commission will be deliberating settlements in three legal cases filed against the Police Department. 

Settlements are sent to Police Commission for sign off, and once the ordinance authorising the settlement is returned it’s sent to Board of Supervisors for approval. 

‘Video shows SFPD officer trying to tip a quadriplegic off wheelchair’ 

One of the cases is startling.

A civil lawsuit filed in June 2015 alleged that an SFPD officer tried to tip a quadriplegic out of his wheelchair. The incident was caught on video. The plaintiff Devaughn Frierson claimed that officer — who is identified only by his last name, Carrasco — grabbed his wheelchair and tried to dump him face first into a concrete sidewalk. 

The incident took place on Jan. 18 2015 near the corner of Sunnydale Avenue and Hahn Street. The lawsuit details that Frierson approached officers when he saw them physically restraining his cousin and began to inquire what they were doing — and in response, the officer grabbed his wheelchair and turned it around. 

The suit says Frierson began complying with officers’ orders to back up but Carrasco “tried to dump plaintiff out of the wheelchair while saying words to the effect of ‘take your punk ass home,’” the complaint states. Frierson, it says, was dangling in mid-air and avoided hitting the pavement only because he had a seat belt on.

At one point, the complaint states, another officer forcefully grabbed Frierson around the neck “in a Vulcan death grip type hold.”

Officer Carrasco said that Frierson had run over his feet. 

In a joint status report filed on 6th of April 2017, SFPD and Frierson’s representatives John Burris Law told the court that a settlement has been reached between the two parties. The settlement amount has not yet been disclosed. 

‘SFPD car hits motorcyclist & reckless arrest’  

A personal injury suit filed in state Superior Court alleges that plaintiffs were injured when hit by and SFPD car. The incident happened in April 2015; plaintiff Jason Douglas and Carol Grindley alleged that an SFPD car made a sudden 90-degree left turn and struck them.

Another lawsuit settlement to be discussed is regarding an incident that happened in September 2014. The lawsuit alleged that SFPD Officer Sam Yeun arrested plaintiff Raymond Choy, a 66-year old San Francisco resident, without probable cause. The lawsuit demanded that the city pay damages of up to $113,774 including hospital bills and attorney fees. 

The Police Department has been under intense scrutiny and the actions taken by the new police chief are being watched closely by community members. Frierson’s case in particular caused a lot of uproar as video of the incident was released. Damages in the case haven’t yet been made public. 

But the fact that it’s settling indicates that the city is going to be on the hook for a bunch of money. That comes out of the General Fund, not the SFPD budget. So all of us are paying for it.




  1. The wheelchair case seems similar to the BART guy last summer who was punched after spitting on an officer.

    Yeah, maybe the cop overreacted (not the head-shot – but the dumping; btw, what makes vic a “quadriplegic”? Seemed to be using his hands & arms). But understandable in one sense, given that this guy had no business there, was meddling, and was reckless maneuvering his device (hear the chair hitting the street sign pole? Ouch!). Didn’t see the alleged “Vulcan Death Grip” – was that when someone tried to pull him back in the chair?

    Yes, cops should be professional, and maybe even held to a higher standard (given what we pay them). This fellow should have been detained, taken to jail for assaulting an officer and interfering with police business.

    When will cops learn? Whats that saying about revenge is best served cold?

  2. Rushing out pieces before editing is a common error, but looks so much better with a quick edit 🙂

  3. Cool. There’s a file at OCC an inch thick with my name on it, and I do appreciate your coverage.

  4. Hi Rosh,

    As a reader it’s your right to critique. No scrutiny at all. This is just a short report on the upcoming police commission, we have done several reports before on the same issue. To your larger point, yes need to do an in-depth report on police settlements. Working on it,

    Thank you,

  5. What did SF pay in the fiscal year 2016 for police brutality settlements, and how much does the city currently budget for these lawsuits?

    NYC paid $228 million in the 2016 fiscal year for police brutality lawsuits. The lawsuits cited here are relatively minor, and the fact the city is settling these doesn’t indicate we will be on the hook for a “bunch of money.”

    I know I’ve been scrutinizing you Sana, but that last paragraph is lacking and the article should have better stats in general.

  6. Thanks Cynthia! just fixed two typos. Sorry sometimes we make mistakes. Thank you so much for pointing out.

  7. Oh, the lack of editing. The lack of editing. Please, please copy-edit articles before they are posted.

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